Being pulled over and arrested for DUI is a crime in all states. Disorderly conduct, also called “disturbing the peace” is considered a crime that involves offensive or disruptive public activity. In some states, public intoxication is considered disorderly conduct; in others, it is a separate criminal offense.
Oregon law considers public intoxication as a public health problem, but not a crime. Public intoxication, however, can easily result in jail time in some circumstances. Intoxicated people who drive may be arrested and charged for DUI. Sometimes, intoxicated people act violently and disturb the peace (may start arguing with the police officer, or disturb the peace while intoxicated, and not only by driving).
Drugs and alcohol abuse contributes to at least one-third of all serious crimes, including DUI. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you should contact our Portland DUI attorneys right away.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
When a person’s public behavior is disruptive or offensive or interferes with other people’s enjoyment of public spaces, it is considered to be disorderly conduct. Such behavior allows a police officer to arrest the person (very often, these people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol).
In many states, a criminal charge of disorderly conduct does not require the offender’s use of alcohol. Behavior such as fighting, making noise, disturbing the peace, loitering is also defined as disorderly conduct.
Public Intoxication Laws
Almost all states have laws consider it a crime to be intoxicated in public (under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both). Some state laws require another accompanying disruptive public behavior. In some states (without a specific public intoxication law on the books, law enforcement officers have the discretion to detain intoxicated people to a debilitating level and let them sleep it off in a local jail cell).
These laws protect the safety of the intoxicated person, but also the society’s safety to use public spaces outside of their home.
Defenses and Driving
In most states, disorderly conduct and DUI are not the same. However, the fact that a person decided to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated is a good reason for a conviction.
Impaired people often fight that they’re not drunk or drugged and that they’re perfectly fine. Being arrested may lead to their violent behavior, which would be another offense.
In some states, you can’t be convicted of a DUI unless you were driving a vehicle. In case you were asleep in a parked vehicle when the police arrived, you have a good defense. You were only intoxicated, did not drive, and did not cause any disorderly conduct.
The tricky part is that most states don’t need proof of actual driving while the person was intoxicated. The prosecution needs to prove whether or not you were operating a vehicle while under the influence, but you can be found guilty even if you weren’t caught driving.
Although you didn’t drive, nobody can say whether or not you had a plan to drive later (in case the police did not stop you).
Types of Behavior During Arrest
Violence and acquiescence are frequent behaviors when intoxicated people are arrested.
It is not uncommon for people to be profane when the officer is arresting them. Others may even become violent at the idea of being arrest and facing charges. There are thousands of cases where an intoxicated person tried to fight the police officer or pulled out a weapon. This type of behavior can lead to even more charges and complicate the case even if you have the best defense.
The best thing is to remain calm and silent, although when people are under the influence they don’t have much control over their behavior and language.
If an officer suspects that you’re breaking the law, they will pull you over and ask you questions about your previous activities. Then, they will ask you to perform a field sobriety test to check possible intoxication. The officer might require a chemical test; in case you refuse to do it, you will be immediately arrested. If you have already broken the law (violated traffic regulations, disturbed the peace, acted violently toward others, you will be immediately arrested.
We do not encourage such behavior. If you find yourself in a situation like this, the smartest thing is to call an attorney. When under the influence, people tend to say many things that will later regret. It is best if you remain silent.
Our team at Trilogy Law Group is here to stand by your side; call our office today and schedule your first free consultation.