Texas Public Intoxication Lawyer

Public Intoxication is a serious criminal charge in Texas. A PI charge is more than just a ticket. Public Intoxication is a Class C criminal misdemeanor in Texas. A Public Intoxication conviction results in a permanent criminal conviction that can negatively impact college admissions, security clearances, and professional licenses. Learn more.

texas public intoxication lawyer


Results matter when your livelihood and reputation are on the line. Public Intoxication laws in Texas are vague and subjective, making it easy for prosecutors to get convictions. This is where a powerful defense can make a difference.

Trey Porter Law has a track record of winning dismissals in the toughest cases. Every situation is different, but an aggressive, exhaustive approach yields the best overall result in every case, every time. TPL works hard for dismissals in Public Intoxication cases across Texas. Learn more. 


Trey Porter Law is one of the highest and best rated intoxication defense law firms in Texas. Recipients of statewide and national recognition, the Public Intoxication attorneys at TPL know how to fight and win for their clients. With over 40 years of combined experience in every facet of criminal defense, TPL has delivered successful outcomes for thousands of Texans facing intoxication and criminal charges. From students to teachers, veterans to first responders, and professionals across varied industries, the firm brings a results-oriented & client-focused approach to solving complex problems. 


Texas Public Intoxication Lawyer

The Texas law against public intoxication prohibits appearing in a public place while intoxicated to the point of endangering oneself or another. The Texas Penal Code defines Public Intoxication in chapter 49.02:

Tex. Penal Code § 49.02. PUBLIC INTOXICATION (a) A person commits an offense if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the alcohol or other substance was administered for therapeutic purposes and as a part of the person’s professional medical treatment by a licensed physician.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(d) An offense under this section is not a lesser included offense under Section 49.04.

(e) An offense under this section committed by a person younger than 21 years of age is punishable in the same manner as if the minor committed an offense to which Section 106.071, Alcoholic Beverage Code, applies. 


Law enforcement officers are not required to make an arrest for PI charges. There are three options in Texas law when charging Public Intoxication:


  1. Police officers can cite and release for Public Intoxication. Texas law does not require arrest for PI charges. Police can issue a citation and release an individual suspected of Public Intoxication. The citation will contain information for future court requirements.
  2. Police officers can detain for Public Intoxication. Texas law does not require arrest for Public Intoxication. Cities like Austin and Houston offer sobering centers as alternatives to jail. Police issue a citation and transport individuals to a sobering center where they are eventually released after passing a breath test on an Intoxilyzer 9000 breathalyzer or other basic sobriety test.
  3. Police officers can arrest for Public Intoxication. Texas law allows police officers to arrest and jail people for Public Intoxication. This is the most common practice across the 254 Texas counties. After arrest, a person is booked, processed, and brought before a magistrate judge, before being eventually released with paperwork detailing court requirements.

texas public intoxication attorney

Whether cited and released, taken to a sobering center, or arrested and jailed, all Texans charged with Public Intoxication have a constitutional right to due process. An arrest for Public Intoxication is not a conviction in Texas. Learn more.


Texas law does not have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for Public Intoxication. Police officers only have to make a subjective decision that a person is intoxicated, in a public place, and that the person is a danger to themselves or others.  

  • What is the definition of ‘Intoxication’ in Texas? Texas law defines intoxication as having lost the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, controlled substance, a prescription drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.
  • What is the definition of ‘Public Place’ in Texas? Public Place is defined in Texas as any place where members of the public have access. This definition includes, but is not limited to, public streets, highways, parking lots, bars, and private property. You can be charged with Public Intoxication as a passenger in a vehicle. You can be charged with Public Intoxication on your front porch. Learn more.
  • What is the definition of ‘Danger to Self or Others’ in Texas? There is no definition. It is entirely subjective. Police officers can (and do) construe this to mean whatever they want it to mean.

Faq knowledge is power get honest answers about charges now.


Public Intoxication charges are serious. What may seem like a ticket, or an inconvenience, can turn into a permanent criminal conviction. Criminal records are public records. When charged with Public Intoxication, it is important to first obtain a dismissal, and then delete the charge through an expungement proceeding at a later date. Learn more.

  • Do I need a lawyer for Public Intoxication in Texas?  Yes, it is important to retain an experienced attorney when charged with PI in Texas. The penalties are serious, and the State has an unfair advantage. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to counsel when facing criminal prosecution. A dynamic defense is the best chance at getting the best result. Learn more.

best rated texas public intoxication lawyer

  • What to do after getting a Public Intoxication in Texas? The first and most important step to take after a Public Intoxication charge in Texas is hiring a legal counsel. Start now.

    Trey Porter Law is one of the highest rated criminal & intoxication defense law firms in Texas. With 40+ years of combined experience, TPL has achieved winning results for thousands of Texans facing criminal charges. Learn more.
  • Can Public Intoxication be dismissed in Texas? Yes, a PI case can be dismissed by challenging the State’s evidence. Police officers must establish probable cause to charge a person with Public Intoxication in Texas, and a prosecutor must use those elements to meet the burden of proof and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Learn more. 


Public Intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. PI is punishable by a fine up to $500.00, as well as court-ordered community service, and alcohol awareness programs. As a Class C misdemeanor offense Public Intoxication is not punishable by jail time. Repeat offenders can receive a jail sentence, higher fines, and other more severe consequences. Learn more.

best public intoxication lawyer texas

  • Is Public Intoxication a crime in Texas? Yes, Public Intoxication is a criminal offense in Texas. Simply paying the fine amount results in a permanent criminal conviction that can never be expunged or sealed.

  • Is Public Intoxication a misdemeanor in Texas? Yes, Public Intoxication is a criminal Class C misdemeanor in Texas.  

  • What is Texas Public Intoxication enhancement? After two convictions, a third Public Intoxication charge is enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. The maximum fine amount is quadrupled to $2,000.00, and the maximum period of incarceration increases from 0 days in jail to 180 days in jail. Learn more.


Texas Public Intoxication charges have short-term penalties, but carry long-term consequences. Public Intoxication is a criminal offense in Texas, and a conviction for PI becomes a permanent criminal conviction that appears on background checks, requiring disclosure on job and college admissions applications.


  • What is the sentence for Public Intoxication in Texas? There is no jail sentence available for first-time Public Intoxication charges in Texas law. However, judges can order periods of unsupervised probation through deferred disposition. Learn more.
  • Do you go to jail for Public Intoxication in Texas? Yes – you can go to jail when arrested for Public Intoxication. First-time PI charges in Texas are punishable by fine only. A judge cannot sentence you to jail as punishment. It is important not to miss court, as you can be arrested for Failure to Appear. Learn more.

  • How long do you stay in jail for Public Intoxication in Texas? Typically, a person will be released within 48 hours of being arrested for Public Intoxication. Repeat offenders can be sentenced to jail for up to 180 days. Learn more. 
  • Can employers fire you for pending charges in Texas? Yes, employers can terminate individuals charged with crimes in Texas. Because of stringent board requirements, nurses must be particularly careful when charged with Public Intoxication, DWI, Open Container, or any other drug or alcohol offense. Learn more.


Attacking the State’s evidence is the best way to beat a Public Intoxication charge in Texas. Police officers regularly make mistakes, and often lie, about details used to support probable cause for arrest. Exhaustively reviewing the evidence can reveal the truth. If a judge rules the probable cause is lacking or invalid prosecutors are forced to dismiss the charge. Learn more.

  • How do you prove Public Intoxication? Prosecutors prove Public Intoxication through officer testimony. There is no legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Texas for Public Intoxication, unlike the 0.08 legal BAC limit for DWI. Officers are not required to perform field sobriety tests. Because no forensic proof is required, prosecutors prove Public Intoxication in Texas through the subjective testimony of police officers. 
  • How do you get out of a Public Intoxication charge? The best way to get out of a Public Intoxication charge in Texas is to hire an experienced defense attorney. Even in situations where the State’s case is strong, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will likely be able to obtain the best possible result. Learn more. 


Yes, Public Intoxication charges appear on background checks. Dismissed PI charges can be deleted through the legal process of expunction. A Public Intoxication conviction is permanent, and stays on the record forever. It is critical to avoid a PI conviction at all costs.

public drinking lawyer texas

  • How long does a Public Intoxication stay on your record in Texas? Forever. Criminal convictions are permanent in Texas. A PI conviction will remain on a person’s record forever. Dismissed charges become eligible to be deleted through expunction – but expunction is an extra step. PI charges never just “fall off” a person’s record, no matter how much time has passed.

  • Will a Public Intoxication affect employment in Texas? Yes, Public Intoxication charges negatively impact employment. PI is a criminal misdemeanor in Texas, and many employers require employees to disclose being charged with a criminal offense. Because Public Intoxication charges show up on background checks, all future employers will see the incident during the hiring process.  


PI convictions cannot be expunged in Texas. PI charges that were dismissed, even after a successful deferred disposition, are eligible to be deleted through the powerful legal procedure of expungement. Learn more.

texas public intoxication lawyer

  • Can you seal a Public Intoxication charge in Texas? No, PI charges are Class C misdemeanors, and therefore not eligible to be sealed through an Order of Nondisclosure. Dismissed Public Intoxication charges be deleted through expungement. Convictions are permanent, and there is no time period under Texas law when they come off the record. 


The penalties and consequences for minors under 21 years old in Texas charged with Public Intoxication are very serious. Minors are subject to a different set of legal procedures and penalties, outlined in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.071. Minors charged with Public Intoxication can face a driver’s license suspension, fines, community service, and repeat offenders face incarceration up to 180 days. 


Texas has a public policy interest in protecting citizens from danger. Individuals charged with Public Intoxication in Texas have been deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Police officers often abuse their subjective power by wrongly arresting people for Public Intoxication.

public intoxication lawyer

  • Where is Public Intoxication illegal? Public Intoxication is illegal everywhere in Texas, including bars, restaurants, sporting arenas, theaters, and all other places where alcohol is served or permitted.
  • Where is Public Intoxication legal? It is legal to be intoxicated in public places across Texas so long as you are not a danger to yourself or others. Intoxication is also permitted on private property in Texas, though it must be inaccessible from the public.
  • Is drinking in public illegal in Texas? There is no statewide law making it illegal to drink in public. Drinking in public is governed by local ordinance in Texas. There is a state law against possessing an open alcohol container in a motor vehicle. Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in a Motor Vehicle is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $500 fine. Learn more.
  • Is drinking in public a crime in Texas? Public consumption of alcohol is permitted in many parts of Texas. Most cities and counties have designated areas where drinking is not permitted, and it is illegal in Texas to have an open container in a vehicle – though there are many exceptions. Learn more. 


texas public intoxication

State prosecutors seek convictions. Convictions come with consequences. When facing a Public Intoxication charge, it is important to assert your rights, forcefully and immediately. Maintaining a high quality of life during the pendency of the case, while working to obtain the absolute best possible outcome are top priorities for the team at Trey Porter Law.

With over 40 years of combined experience, TPL has built a winning record by standing up for thousands of Texans in courtrooms across the Lonestar State. If you are charged with a crime, the State is working on your conviction. It’s time to start building your defense. Start now.


Trey Porter Law has Public Intoxication lawyers protecting clients rights in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, Laredo, San Antonio, and beyond, TPL stands up for citizens across Texas, fighting for dismissals across all 268,597 square miles, 254 counties, and the courthouses in between. Visit our Contact Page to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Start now. 

Texas Public Intoxication Lawyer FAQs; Knowledge is power. Get honest answers now.

    Contact Trey Porter Today

    Request a free consultation

    The stakes are high. Criminal charges can have devastating, lifelong consequences. During the free, confidential consultation, Mr. Porter will answer questions surrounding your legal matter, and discuss and identify potential defenses.

    If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the State is working on your conviction. It’s time to start building your defense.

    Google Rating Avvo Rating