The Dangers of Public Intoxication

Summertime has arrived, and for many Americans this season embodies backyard barbecues, beach trips, and increased alcohol consumption.

Outside of December, the summer months mark a period of high alcohol use in the U.S. With a surplus of graduation parties, family reunions, and vacations, it's easy to understand how some Americans drink more during the summer. But higher alcohol consumption can lead to individuals openly drinking in public spaces — putting them at risk for being charged with public intoxication.

Keep yourself safe this summer by learning the Arkansas laws about public intoxication and drinking responsibly.


Arkansas Public Intoxication Laws

If you’re looking to go bar hopping (or participate in other alcohol-based activities) around Arkansas this summer, it’s helpful to review state and county laws surrounding public intoxication. Even if you aren’t worried about holding your liquor, you never know how your friends or other bar patrons may react after heavy alcohol consumption.



According to Arkansas code 5-71-212, there are two main reasons for public intoxication charges:

  1. An individual poses a danger to themselves and others while under the influence in a public space. Alternatively, a person may be classified “unreasonably annoying” and charged with public intoxication.
  2. An individual consumes alcohol in public outside of spaces that sell alcoholic beverages. This includes drinking at retail locations, hospitals, sidewalks, highways, vehicles, and more.

Violate any of these rules and you risk being charged with public intoxication by local law enforcement. In Arkansas, public intoxication is considered a class C misdemeanor — which means multiple charges can result in serious legal trouble.


The Consequences of Receiving a Misdemeanor for Public Intoxication

Arkansas has strict consequences for repeated instances of public intoxication. If any individual is charged with public intoxication two or more times within a five year period, the person will receive an unclassified misdemeanor (a criminal offense). 

If you're curious about the differences between a class C misdemeanor and an unclassified misdemeanor, you can read more information on the Hickey & Hull blog.



The legal consequences don’t end with being charged with a misdemeanor. Depending upon the severity of the incident that lead to public intoxication charges, there are various court outcomes:

  • Up to one year probation with rehabilitation or alcohol use treatment
  • Up to 30 days jail time with probation that includes rehabilitation or alcohol use treatment

Breaking probation may result in up to 30 days in jail. For individuals who received jail time when they were charged, this could mean receiving an additional sentence.


Contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners for a Legal Consultation

If you or someone you know need a criminal attorney, consider contacting Hickey & Hull for legal representation. Our professional team has decades of combined experience helping our clients during their day in court. Contact us by phone or email to set up your first legal consultation. Hickey & Hull has five law offices in Arkansas to support residents who need legal aid across the state.

Don't wait — the sooner you hire legal representation, the sooner you can start preparing your court case.