What Makes Colorado Public Intoxication Laws Different from Other States?

By January 23, 2017Thomas Law Firm

Many states have laws against public intoxication. These laws vary dramatically between states and cover various degrees of intoxication from a wide number of substances. A law against public intoxication does not mean you are never allowed to be impaired in public (can you imagine the outcry if every bar in the state was shut down?), but that if you breach the peace, harass someone or do something that endangers the lives or safety of yourself or others, you can be arrested.

Colorado (and Washington, one of our brothers in marijuana legalization) does not have a public intoxication law. As a matter of fact, Colorado does not even allow local laws passed that penalize public intoxication. Instead, the laws provide for the creation of patrols trained to provide assistance to intoxicated people. We, unlike other states, treat public intoxication as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue.

I Was Arrested While I Was Drunk – I Thought Public Intoxication Wasn’t a Crime?

Colorado trains emergency service patrols to provide assistance to those who are impaired or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs. These patrollers are able to provide first aid as well as transport a person in need to and from treatment centers and their homes.

If you are taken in for treatment by one of these alcohol patrol officers, you have not necessarily been arrested. If the only thing that you have done is gotten a little too drunk, you will be treated and taken home. You are only allowed to be arrested for any crimes you commit while intoxicated. If an officer pats you down, for example, and finds your concealed carry weapon, you will be arrested for possession of a firearm while under the influence. If you have been mixing a little marijuana with your cocktails and are carrying more than an ounce of green, they can arrest you for that.

If you have been charged with alcohol-related driving crimes in Colorado, our firm can provide you with aggressive representation to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

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