With New Year's Eve upon us, and on a Saturday no less, many are speculating that this may be a busy holiday for local emergency rooms and jails that fill up with intoxicated party-goers. It's no secret that drunk driving is a criminal crime in Orlando, in Florida and throughout the United States, but many don't understand that simply walking around in public while intoxicated can also land you in the back of a cop car.
Orlando DUI lawyers commonly defend individuals charged with driving while over the legal limit. The number 0.08 is recognized and well-understood by just about anyone who drinks beer or alcohol. But what about when you're not behind the wheel? Is there a legal limit?
The simple answer: yes, there is. The Florida Legislature has deemed disorderly conduct and disorderly intoxication to be criminal offenses, meaning you can be arrested even when you're not behind the wheel. The police have wide discretion in determining what exactly counts as 'disorderly.' If you are creating a public disturbance while intoxicated, you may be arrested.
If you are under 21, it is illegal to be in possession of beer or alcohol, unless you are over 18 and work in the sale or distribution of it. Conviction for possession of alcohol by a minor can result in a jail sentence as well as the revocation of your driver's license. Possession is an enhanceable offense -- penalties can be increased if you have a prior conviction on your record.
As with any criminal charge, being arrested does not mean being convicted. Orlando criminal defense attorneys can help you understand any available defense to the charges against you and ensure that you have the opportunity for a second chance.
There may be more than just criminal consequences to 'drunk walking.' New Year 's Day is historically the deadliest day for pedestrian accidents. Starting at 12:00 am on Sunday morning, after that last toast to Auld Lang Syne, people on foot throughout Orlando are the most likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident.
You may have many reasons to celebrate the passing of 2011 or the coming of 2012 and please, do enjoy the holiday. But not too much.
Source: USA Today, "New Year's Eve: night of walking drunks, busy ER doctors," 30 December 2011