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Persons Found Drunk and Disorderly

In Victoria, being drunk and disorderly in a public place carries a maximum penalty for a first offence of 20 penalty units or imprisonment for 3 days. If it is your second or subsequent offence of being drunk and disorderly in a public place, the maximum penalty is increased to 20 penalty units or imprisonment for 1 month. Frequently, individuals are charged with being drunk and disorderly in conjunction with another more serious offence.

Penalties the Court can impose for this charge:

The Offence of Drunk and Disorderly

The offence of drunk and disorderly is contained in Section 14 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 which states: “Any person found drunk and disorderly in a public place shall be guilty of an offence”.

What Actions Might Constitute Drunk and Disorderly?

  • Walking down the middle of the road whilst singing and intoxicated by alcohol;
  • Sitting in your own vomit out the front of a hotel whilst intoxicated by alcohol; or
  • Being found asleep in the middle of a public park whilst intoxicated by alcohol.

What the Police Must Prove

  • You were drunk and disorderly; and
  • The place where you were found was a public place.

What is Disorderly?

The term disorderly does not have a specific meaning in the Courts, but is referred to as behaviour that causes disturbance or annoyance to others present. However, the actions must be serious enough to warrant the attention of the criminal justice system. As an example: it is unlikely that whistling, whilst possibly annoying, would be considered disorderly.

Possible Defences for Drunk and Disorderly

  • Police cannot prove the offence.
  • Non-self induced intoxication.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This offence is a summary offence and will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

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