Arrested in Laguna Beach for Public Intoxication

Photo Credit: D. Ramey Logan

4 Things to Know: If you were Arrested in Laguna Beach for Public Intoxication

There is an idea floating around that some cities are good “drinking towns” and some aren’t.  When it comes to Laguna Beach, it may come down to a lot more factors than that.  But as one of the most visited cities in Orange County, some clients are shocked when they are arrested in Laguna Beach for public intoxication (aka: “drunk in public”or “disorderly conduct”).  The biggest shock comes with a statement such as, “I wasn’t even that drunk!  Why did I spend the night in jail?”  And it’s important to know what level of intoxication someone was, but there’s more to it.  With the multitude of factors involved behind this offense (local history, geographic dangers, public safety, officer protocol, etc.), many need to know a lot is designed behind this area of law.  This article examines specific things that are unique to the city of Laguna Beach and the methods and reasons behind public intoxication arrests.  To learn more about public intoxication in general however, feel free to read this article: Public Intoxication.

1.  The Laguna Beach Jail

Laguna Beach JailOne very distinct feature about the city of Laguna Beach is that the police department has their own holding cells for low-level arrests.  Sometimes referred to as the “drunk tank”, arrestees are kept there for a range of four, six, or sometimes up to eight hours depending on the circumstances.  Having investigated many public intoxication arrests in the city, our firm has found that the jail facility offers ample opportunities to evaluate a person’s general level of intoxication through forensic evidence.

Some clients are surprised to learn that breathalyzers were not used when they were arrested.  But circumstantial evidence can be obtained by indirect means to evaluate whether there is strong evidence to counter the allegations of a drunk-in-public charge.  Given the activity in the Laguna Beach jail and the agencies policies for public intoxication arrests, a lot of information can be derived and evaluated for someone’s benefit in a case in court.

2.  Compact City Environment = Possible Exonerating Evidence

The landscape of Laguna Beach offers unique advantages to clients that challenge public intoxication charges.  Places and people are in close proximity within the city.  Therefore, if you have difficulty recollecting details of the encounter with police or what had transpired, witnesses and business establishments could offer great opportunities to develop testimony that challenges the opinions of the arresting officers–or at least undermine the reasoning they followed to effectuate the arrest.

What about Alcohol Tests?

Keep in mind that a public intoxication arrest does not fall squarely on forensic biology.  Some are shocked that the elements of the charge are largely subjective (based on the officer’s training and experience with alcohol-related offenses).  These laws exists far beyond the advent of digital recording technology.  So keep in mind the training and jurisprudence that supports these offenses have been studied for longer periods than live recorded documentation devices.

A good bit of advice for those recently arrested in Laguna Beach for Public Intoxication would be to recount the events with any friends who may have been present at the time of arrest.  For many people, having handcuffs placed on them and put into a police car is pretty traumatic and that causes one’s attention to be divided and focused on different things.

Having familiar faces present at the scene can help piece together what happened and provide alternative accounts.  Not every location has surveillance cameras that could capture the exact moment someone is being arrested for public intoxication in Laguna Beach.  Some are lucky and this evidence can be used to help their case.

Targeted Premises?

Some clients have suggested to us that certain bars and restaurants have an ulterior motive to contact police to make possible arrests.  In a few cases, the evidence strongly suggested this possibility.  It’s best to document where and when you were drinking to trace back the events prior to the detention.  If you recall the name of the establishment where you consumed alcohol, this would be the obvious first step.  But some cannot remember this if they are not locals.

A helpful place to answer this question is parsing through any receipts you may have received from the restaurant or bar.  If that’s not available, checking your credit card charge history may ultimately show the exact time of purchase and the name of the place you were in.

3.  Is There a Criminal Record?

Many clients ask whether being booked into jail or being charged with public intoxication generates a criminal record that will effect them in finding a job or going through a background check.  The topic of criminal records is vast and complex, to read more about it go here: Criminal Record.  Even more importantly, for those professionals who are licensed by the state or federal government, an arrest for public intoxication could also complicate regulatory matters as well.

Criminal RecordsBut when it comes to an arrest in Laguna Beach for public intoxication, this could be a complicated question to answer.  Similar to other cities that have their own municipally run local jail, the booking process is different than that of the much larger county jails in California.  Therefore, when it comes to a person’s profession, certification, industry, and location of business/home, the ultimate reporting of the arrest will differ for many people.  For a more detailed discussion of this, go here: Arrest on a Background Check.

Similarly, the filing of criminal charges initiates a court document that can be accessed by investigators and background check companies.  To find out more about this topic, you can follow this link: Criminal Charges on a Background Check.

However, the manner in which that record can be reported or shared with third parties will depend on the circumstances.  To get a more detailed evaluation, we encourage you to contact our office.

Laguna Beach Public Intoxication4.  Location of Arrest Matters

The reason that a person’s location of arrest holds significance is based on the original elements of a public intoxication charge.  Being arrested in Laguna Beach for public intoxication brings numerous elements into a criminal case.  One aspect of being drunk in public has to do with whether or not the public is being obstructed in some significant way.

Another important factor deals with whether or not the person arrested could care for their safety or not.  In a city like Laguna Beach, this matters given the high traffic in some parts of the boardwalk as well as a person’s proximity to where they are staying.

Keep in mind that public intoxication arrests are always hinged on a fundamental disagreement between the officer and the person arrested.  One side claims you are not OK and should be taken into custody to sober up.  The other [You] says they are fine and should be left alone.  As in most cases, some facts stand out more than others.  So to weight the general strength of the case, there should be at least some analysis as to whether the case can be resolved most favorably for the client.

If you have been arrested in Laguna Beach for public intoxication, we encourage you to contact our office to evaluate your case and see what options you may have.

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About the Author: Bart Kaspero

Bart Kaspero is an experienced criminal defense and regulatory attorney who has focused on using technology and the law in bringing privacy to criminal records. His research has been published in several legal journals and his unique background has helped a broad spectrum of clients. He has provided legal training to lawyers across the US on how to navigate complex criminal record legislation and how to effectively provide privacy to those with past arrests, charges, and convictions. His innovative methods have earned him a top position of authority on the subject of criminal record privacy as well as trust within the criminal data supply chain.