Many states have laws on the books that criminalize the act of being in public while drunk due to alcohol consumption and/or drug use. These offenses are known by various names such as public intoxication, drunk and disorderly, drunk in public. However, Minnesota is not one of the states that criminalizes public intoxication. 

Minnesota state legislators have even gone so far as to enact a statute explicitly stating that “[n]o person may be charged with or convicted of the offense of drunkenness or public drunkenness.” The statute is appropriately titled “Drunkenness Not A Crime.” But as the statute goes on to state, it does not prevent prosecution or conviction of an intoxicated person for offenses other than public intoxication, nor does it relieve a person from civil liability for injury to persons or property caused while intoxicated.


So while you cannot be prosecuted merely for being drunk in public, you can still be charged for any other crimes you may commit while you are intoxicated. Common offenses that tend to go hand in hand with alcohol intoxication are disorderly conduct, assault, DWI and criminal damage to property.

Another thing to bear in mind is that appearing in public while in a state of intoxication in Minnesota could also result in a trip to a detox facility. If a peace officer believes a person is intoxicated in public, they may take the person into custody and transport them to a detox facility. Persons taken to detox are often held for up to three days, however, an attorney can file a petition to fight for early release. Although being taken to detox, in and of itself, is not a criminal offense, it can carry some hefty fees and is not how anyone wants to spend their weekend.

If you, or a loved one, are facing a criminal charge of any kind, contact The Law Office of John J. Leunig at 952-540-6800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a free consultation. The lawyers at The Law Office of John J. Leunig provide vigorous, intelligent and personalized representation to people accused of crimes in State and Federal courts.


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