Persons Found Drunk
In Victoria, it is an offence to be found drunk in a public place and is punishable by way of a fine only (8 penalty units). Frequently, individuals are charged with public drunkenness in conjunction with another more serious offence.
Penalties the Court can impose for this charge:
The Offence of Public Drunkenness
The offence of public drunkenness is contained in Section 13 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 which states: “Any person found drunk in a public place shall be guilty of an offence”.
What Actions Might Constitute Public Drunkenness?
- Being unable to stand upright on a footpath due to alcohol intoxication;
- Being unable to speak to a police officer when found walking through the street due to alcohol intoxication; or,
- Being unable to sit upright at a bus stop due to alcohol intoxication.
What Is Drunkenness?
Whilst there is no specific definition of “drunkenness”, the Police do not need to conduct a breath analysis to prove that you are intoxicated. “Drunkenness” is defined as a state where the person’s mental or physical faculties or judgement are materially impaired in the conduct of the ordinary affairs of life. In deciding whether a person is drunk the Court must consider what an ordinary person would consider as being “drunk”.
What the Police Must Prove
- You were drunk; and
- That you were in a public place.
Possible Defences for Public Drunkenness
- 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.