Menu Close Menu

California Penal Code 647f PC - Drunk in Public

Public Intoxication - Disorderly Conduct - Under the Influence in Public

If you are facing these charges, contact one of our Southern California DUI attorneys. We can usually help you get the case dismissed.

The Definition of Penal Code 647 f Drunk in Public

California Penal Code 647 f makes it a misdemeanor to be drunk in a public place, or to be under the influence of drugs in a public place. However, the person must be so intoxicated that he/she cannot exercise care for his own safety or that of others. The Penal Code 647f offense is often referred to as "drunk in public," "disorderly conduct," "public intoxication," or "under the influence in public."

The California Penal Code 647 f statute reads:

"Every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way."

Is Penal Code 647 f "Drunk in Public" a crime?

Yes. A violation of Penal Code 647 f is a misdemeanor. If one is convicted, it will show up on a criminal background check. This does not look good to a prospective employer.

What is "Public" for Penal Code 647f purposes?

Penal Code 647f PC defines "public" as, for example, a city street, sidewalk, shopping mall, restaurant or nightclub-any place open to the public. California courts have also found that a person sitting in his parked car on a public street is in "public" for PC 647f purposes.

What does "drunk" or "under the influence" mean in the Penal Code 647f context?

To be convicted of being "drunk in public," the person must be very intoxicated. This does not mean someone who had a few drinks and is simply buzzed. Penal Code 647 f addresses someone who has become so drunk, or so intoxicated on drugs, that she can no longer care for herself. An example would be someone falling down drunk or someone passed out or about to pass out.

What are the penalties or punishments for Penal Code 647f Public Intoxication?

A person convicted of Penal Code 647f Public Intoxication could face probation, fines and up to 6 months in jail.

What do you typically see happen in Penal Code 647f cases?

Our Southern California criminal defense attorneys have typically been able to get the charges dismissed, especially on a first offense or when the circumstances are not too egregious. Often times, we work out an arrangement whereby the client agrees to attend several AA meetings, and upon completing this has the Penal Code 647f PC case dismissed.

Southern California DUI Defense


DUI cases are rarely hopeless. DUI convictions are almost never inevitable. Clients retain our California DUI defense attorneys for one reason: they want to fight the case. And win.

Contact Us For Help

The police arrested you for DUI. You gave a blood or a breath sample. The DUI officer confiscated you drivers license. The police released you with a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Where do you go from here? Our lawyers are here to guide you step by step.