Public Intoxication in South Carolina

by | Mar 12, 2018 | Blog Posts, SC Criminal Defense

South Carolina Criminal Law

Public Disorderly Conductsouth carolina criminal law

We have all heard of the term “drunk and disorderly”. This term often refers to someone being drunk in public and causing some sort of scene.  Laws like these are typically state specific. Under South Carolina criminal law, the crime is often charged as “public disorderly conduct”.

Under South Carolina criminal law, just being intoxicated in public is not enough to constitute a crime. Under South Carolina criminal law, it is a misdemeanor to be found in a public place or gathering in a “grossly intoxicated condition,” or to otherwise behave in a disorderly or “boisterous manner.”  “Boisterous manner” has no clear legal definition, but it is analyzed by evaluating the circumstances surrounding the accused conduct.  A finding must be made by the court that the behavior was indeed boisterous. There are several ways that this can occur including but not limited to:

  • Disorderly conduct includes using obscene or profane language in any public place or gathering or within hearing distance of a schoolhouse or church.
  • Firing a gun within fifty yards of a public road while under the influence of alcohol, except upon one’s own premises

***Keep in mind that boisterous manner OR intoxication would constitute this crime, it does not necessarily require both***

Observable By Others

This alleged conduct must be observable by others, according to South Carolina criminal law. In this context, others does not just mean members of the general public – a police officer observing this behavior would be enough.

Defending Your Case

Though each case has its own unique facts and circumstances, a South Carolina criminal defense attorney may help in several ways.  The burden would be on the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, every element of this crime. As such, some of the considerations include:

  • Challenging intoxication – Your criminal defense lawyer can challenge whether or not you were in fact intoxicated, or that the intoxication was caused by properly prescribed medication.
  • Challenging the behavior – There is an argument that your lawyer may be able to make showing that your accused behavior was not, in fact, disruptive.
  • Challenging whether or not you were in a public place – Your criminal defense lawyer can possibly make the argument that you were not, in fact, in a public place at the time, and, therefore, one of the elements to the crime would be missing.

Punishment for Public disorderly conduct

  • In South Carolina, this is a low-level misdemeanor that carries a fine of not more than $100 or jail time not to exceed 30 days.

If you a need a York Criminal Defense Lawyer, a Rock Hill Criminal Defense Lawyer, or a Lancaster Criminal Defense Lawyer, we can help.   At Gilles Law, we practice state criminal defense in North Carolina and South Carolina. We also practice federal criminal defense in both states. Contact us.

DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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