The penal nature and consequences of a Public Intoxication (PI) charge can depend on several factors, including the number of previous convictions someone may have for public intoxication or the person's age. For example, Texas Penal Code Section 49.02 (c) states that public intoxication in Texas is a Class C Misdemeanor, except as provided by Texas Penal Code 49.02 (e).
Public Intoxication Punishment for Those 21 Years of Age or Older:
Texas Penal Code Section 49.02 (c) states that public intoxication in Texas is a Class C Misdemeanor. Class C Misdemeanors in Texas are punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00. However, having two prior public intoxication convictions makes the third public intoxication enhanceable to a Class B Misdemeanor, which carries potential jail time of up to 180 days and a fine up to $2,000.
Although it may seem appealing to just plead guilty and take the conviction for public intoxication, pay a fine and etc., to just "get it over with," remember that this conviction may come up later with a potential employer, college or graduate school admissions office, loan officer, etc. Do not just look at this as "it's on the same level as a speeding ticket." Concerns about potential alcohol issues or having been intoxicated to the point where you were found to be a danger to yourself or others usually does not look so well in a job interview.
Public Intoxication Punishment for Those Under 21 Years of Age:
Texas Penal Code Section 49.02 (e) relates to minors, in this instance, those under 21 years of age. For someone that is under the age of 21, subsection (e) states that minors would face the same punishment as if they committed an offense under Section 106.071 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. If a minor (not a child ) has two (2) previous convictions for public intoxication, this new conviction can be enhanced to a Class B Misdemeanor which carries potential jail time of up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000. Even a first time conviction for public intoxication can result in the suspension of a minor's driver's license, driver's learning permit or to even deny the issuance of a driver's learning permit. A minor convicted for a first time public intoxication faces a fine between $250 and $500. Also, a minor charged with PI faces mandatory community service and most likely will be required to attend an alcohol education course or program.