Public Intoxication (PI)

The Law

A person commits an offense of public intoxication if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger themselves or another. A premise that is licensed or permitted under the Alcohol and Beverage Code is considered a public place.

Intoxication is when the individual does not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body OR having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.


The punishment for a first time offender is a <class C misdemeanor>. An officer is capable of arresting an individual instead of merely issuing a citation; if arrested, the individual charged will be required to post bail.

A minor is capable of receiving a citation for public intoxication. Additional punishments for minors who are charged with public intoxication include alcohol awareness courses, community service, and driver’s license suspension. If you have prior alcohol related charges, the offense can be more severe. Prior convictions are BOTH convictions where you are found guilty and orders of deferred adjudication. Additionally, the Department of Transportation could suspend your driver’s license anywhere from 30 days to 180 days depending on how many convictions a minor has had for an age related alcohol offense.

A minor who has no more than ONE alcohol related offense under the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code may apply to the court they were convicted from to have the charge expunged (removed in its entirety) from their record. If you have received more than one charge, you are no longer capable of the expungment procedure provided by the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code.


If you have received a citation for public intoxication, a commissioned peace officer has claimed that you were in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that you may endanger yourself or another individual. The offense of public intoxication can be broken into three primary elements that a prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You were in a public place
  • You were intoxicated
    • If you have merely consumed alcohol, you have not violated the law.
  • You were intoxicated to the degree that many endanger yourself or another
    • Just being intoxicated in a public place is not enough alone. It is legal to be intoxicated in a public place as long as you are not a danger to yourself or another.


The exact language of this law, further details, and additional punishment concerns can be found in section 49.02 of the Texas Penal Code. None of this information can take place of the information, knowledge, and expertise provided by a licensed attorney.

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