Under both provincial and federal law, you can be criminally charged for being intoxicated while in public. Specifically, under Section 175 of the Criminal Code, it is a criminal offence for an individual not in a private home to cause a “disturbance” – either by being drunk in public or while in close proximity to a public place.

Calgary and federal penalties for a public intoxication conviction can be harsh. If you have been criminally charged with public intoxication, the Calgary criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence can review the facts and circumstances behind your charge with you, explore available legal defences, and provide you with competent, result-oriented legal representation throughout every stage of your criminal case.

Public Intoxication Law in Canada

Pursuant to Section 175 of the Criminal Code of Canada, intoxication in public is prohibited. Under the statute, “in public” means that the offender is not in a dwelling house. A “disturbance” is defined as fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing, singing loudly, or using insulting or obscene language. Moreover, the disturbance must be caused by “being drunk” or by “impeding or molesting other persons.” The law also prohibits individuals from:

  • Openly exposing or exhibiting an “indecent exhibition” in a public place
  • Loitering in a public place or obstructing other individuals who are present in that place
  • Disturbing the peace and quiet of the occupants of a dwelling house by discharging firearms

Common examples of public intoxication include being drunk in public and singing in a loud voice (especially late at night), shouting loudly in public, or fighting in public. If a Calgary police officer deems that you are intoxicated enough to cause a disturbance, you can be removed from the establishment and taken into police custody.

Under federal law, public intoxication is a summary offence. This means that a conviction is punishable by up to 6 months in prison, a fine of $5,000.00, or both. The legal drinking age also comes into play in Calgary public intoxication cases. Specifically, if you are caught drinking in public or causing a disturbance in public, and you are minor (under the age of 18 in the province of Alberta), you could also be court-ordered to attend a mandatory alcohol rehabilitation program.

Call a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Case Evaluation and Legal Consultation

If you have been charged with or convicted of public intoxication or any other drug or alcohol-related offence, the penalties upon conviction can be costly. Moreover, a criminal charge or conviction is likely to cause a great deal of anxiety and disruption in your life, personally, socially, and financially. Being convicted of an alcohol-related offence is also likely to be a source of extreme embarrassment with family members and friends. The lawyers at Bourdon Defence can discuss your case with you and may be able to represent you throughout your criminal case. Our lawyers can be your advocates during plea bargaining and may be able to help you obtain a dismissal of your charge – or a favourable plea deal. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please call us today at 403-474-4143 or contact us online.