By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Public Intoxication in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

Is it illegal to be drunk in public? Kind-of. It’s not technically a crime listed in Wisconsin’s statutes, but you can be arrested for public intoxication – and you can face criminal charges. Here’s what you need to know.

Public Intoxication in Wisconsin

While no crime exists for public intoxication, the police can pick you up and take you into custody. If that happens, the police can hold on to you until they can transfer you to a treatment facility (either for medical treatment or rehabilitation). The state an also commit you to emergency treatment if you’ve threatened harm to yourself or others, or if you’re too incapacitated to enter voluntary treatment.

Municipal Ordinances About Public Intoxication

Some municipalities have ordinances that relate to public intoxication. Every municipality is different, though, which means there will be different penalties if you’re cited. You may have to pay fines, attend mandatory alcohol education, or complete counseling.

Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication

Although you won’t be in trouble for being intoxicated in public, you can face criminal charges for the things you do while you’re drunk in public. You can be charged with a crime if you do something like:

  • Fight
  • Cause a disturbance
  • Engage in loud, boisterous conduct

Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor, which means if you’re convicted, you’re looking at up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000. A judge can sentence you to jail time, fines or a combination of the two.

Can You Defend Against Public Intoxication Charges in Wisconsin?

If you’re arrested for something related to public intoxication in Wisconsin, you may be able to say that you weren’t drunk at the time of the arrest, you weren’t in public (or the police ordered you out of a private place), or that the police violated your constitutional rights. For most people, the best course of action is to talk to a criminal defense attorney.

Call us at 414-383-6700 to talk about your case. We’ll answer your questions and start putting together a defense that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino