In California it is a crime to drive while impaired in any way that affects your mental or physical faculties, the impairment can be slight. In contrast, the state also criminalizes being drunk in public, however the level of impairment required for a conviction is much greater. For example, if the suspect in a public intoxication case were to fail the so-called Field Sobriety Tests given to suspected DUI drivers that would not necessarily equate to being impaired to the degree required for an arrest for being drunk in public. According to Matthew Ruff, a local Torrance Public Intoxication Lawyer , the law mandates that the intoxication level be to such a degree where the person can no longer care for the safety of himself or to others around him or her. In reality this means the suspect is so drunk he can stumble out into the street and kill himself or he is endangering the public. Such a level of proof is certainly not required in a "drunk driving" case. The bottom line in 647f cases vs. 23152 arrests, is that the requisite level of intoxication required is exponentially higher for public intoxication than for driving under the influence.
Attorney Matthew Ruff can be reached at 310-527-4100 if additional information or advice is required.