Leland Terrell, a decorated veteran of the Mobile, Alabama police force, made the mistake of his career earlier this year. While he was off-duty, he got drunk and went to a Waffle House, where he drew his gun in public. After reviewing the evidence, the police chief fired Terrell, a formerly respected officer who had previously been commended by the governor for his performance of his duties.
It is no crime in Alabama for an adult — including an off-duty police officer — to get drunk. The problem arises with what happens next. A drunk person who acts in a dangerous or disturbing way in public is guilty of public intoxication. Specifically, someone commits the violation of public intoxication by putting him or herself under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, goes to a public place, and then:
- Endangers either himself or others
- Causes a threat to property
- Engages in boisterous and offensive conduct that bothers others who are nearby
Alabama law considers public intoxication a violation, which is less severe than a misdemeanor or a felony. The immediate consequences can include up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $200. However, the broader consequences are greater. A conviction, or even an arrest on your record, can make it harder for you to find a job or get into an academic program. Your record follows you wherever you go.
Protect your freedom and your reputation by mounting a vigorous defense if you are facing charges. Contact a criminal defense lawyer at our office to learn how we can protect your rights and your future.