Can you ever be arrested for private drunkeness - in your house or yard for example?

Just curious if there is ever a circumstance where you can be arrested for being drunk in or on your own property if you are not making a public nuisance of yourself?

Yes. Public drunkeness is still public in your front yard.

Another example, drinking in public is against the law in Tidewater, Virginia. This includes a BarBQ in your backyard. Yes, the police will stop and have a chat if your are observed eating corn on the cob and drinking a Bud. The usual fine in this case is a suggestion to use a glass instead of a beer bottle so the public drinking cannot be “seen.”

What is it called if you are arrested for being drunk, but not disorderly?

PD public drunkenness

punk in drublic

The answer is definitely yes. AcidKid, my example actually happened in Tidewater. A friend was drinking in his front yard (c.120 acres of total property) the police showed up and he was arrested. I do believe that the charges were later dropped though. I should add that from his front yard that no public street or other residence were visible.

Its kind of like public nudity. If I’m naked on my front lawn, or drunk (or more likely both), although the act may be taking place on private land, its potential damage is public. In your house (or tent on your lawn) is fine so long as no sights or sounds “disturb the public”

What about getting a little messed up in your own house… Out of view of the public?

I still shake my head over this one.

daniel801: nice nofx reference.

In my home state, the public intoxication law gives blanket authority to the arresting officer. If you’re impaired in his opinion, you’re busted. He can refuse to test your breath. If you’ve never been intoxicated in your life, it doesn’t matter. If he wants to arrest you, all he has to do is claim you seemed intoxicated. The exception is inside your home. If a cop comes to your door and asks you to step outside, don’t. Tell him you’ll keep your hands where he can see them. If you step outside, that’s public. You can be slobbering and crawling, but if you stay inside, you’re not public.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer or a public servant. I am a mere citizen.

Yes, my city made a stupid law recently that a minor can be arrested in his home for drinking alcohol. What’s stupid about it is that the fine is less if they are caught drunk in public rather than in their home.

I once asked a lawyer in my church about our communion wine & the kids drinking it after this law went through & she just said that people should have a right to drink that in church. It would be interesting to see if the cops would come in as we used a port wine / water mix.

Oooh, a NoFX reference, cool :slight_smile:

As to the OP, check your local state, and then city laws… each place is different

I know in Kentucky (and probably most other states), you can be arrested for riding a horse (bicycle, whatever) while intoxicated on your own land. And, to add insult to injury, if the horse gets scared by the cops and runs off with you on it, it’s called “resisting arrest” and “evasion” and… something else which I do not recall…

It seems logical that you couldn’t be arrested or fined for being drunk in your own home assuming you are not:

  1. a minor
  2. providing alcohol to minor(s)
  3. participating in some other illegal activity - causing a disturbance, beating your significant other, causing harm to another person or their property, etc. In these cases maybe a drunk & disorderly charge would be tacked on to other charges.

Just my gut instinct.

I know of no state law here that simply outlaws an adult being intoxicated. If there is one, I’ve never used it. I’m looking through my State Statute book (2001 edition) right now and can’t find any old, forgoten law on it either. The “Disorderly Conduct” statute wouldn’t cover simply being drunk in public. One would have to actually be doing something to be disorderly. If I’m missing something here, I’m sure someone will correct me.
Of course, Wisconsin being The Drunkest Place on Earth (registered trade mark), if it were illegal to simply be drunk in public we’d end up arresting 80% of the folks who attend our county fairs and firemens picnics.

Excellent point !!

To add, the “disorderly conduct” event can occur while sober too.
The fact that you were drinking at the time may make you more likely to become disorderly, but doesn`t add to the fines.

There is an example from the formative period of Islamic law that established certain precedents, especially the right to privacy.

The second caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb, used to patrol the streets of Medina personally to make sure that justice was being done and everyone’s needs were being met. One evening as he was passing a house, he overheard sounds from behind the wall of the courtyard. (In Arabia, the courtyards of houses are enclosed within walls and not visible from the street.) Listening, ‘Umar thought: Sounds like a party. I bet they’re drinking wine. He climbed over the wall and found people drinking wine. He said: “You’re busted!”

The owner of the house put down his glass and said, “You’re right, O ‘Umar, I have violated one of the laws of Islam by drinking wine. But you have just violated three laws at once:[list=1]
[li]The Prophet ordered: Do not eavesdrop on one another. But you eavesdropped on us.[/li][li]The Qur’an says: Enter houses by their doors. (2:189) But you entered by climbing over the wall.[/li][li]The Qur’an says you have to ask permission to enter a house and greet people with salâm (peace) when you enter. (24:27) But you didn’t ask permission or offer a greeting.”[/li][/list=1]
‘Umar had to admit the fellow was right. So he dropped the charges.

I wish to God the United States “War on Drugs” would learn from this example, and obey the Fourth Amendment!