Is It Illegal to be Drunk in Public in Maricopa County?

Whether it is illegal to be drunk in public is determined by the applicable city ordinance. The following cities have laws that specifically prohibit being drunk in public.

  • Phoenix (City Code 23-6): It is illegal to be in any public place in a “drunken or disorderly condition.”
  • Scottsdale (City Code 19-8): It is illegal to be in public while “under the influence of alcohol, toxic vapors, poisons, narcotics, or other drug not therapeutically administered, when it reasonably appears that [he/she] may endanger himself or other persons or property.”
  • Surprise (City Code 6-3): It is illegal to be on city property while under the influence of alcohol if you are “impaired to the slightest degree”
  • Avondale (City Code 17-21): It is illegal to consume or possess an intoxicating beverage in any public park without a license.

In cities that do not have laws that specifically prohibit public drunkenness, there are other city ordinances that prohibit some of the behaviors that can occur in conjunction with intoxication.

  • In Mesa (City Code 6-1-17), it is illegal to lie or sit on a public street or sidewalk.
  • In Glendale (City Code 25-24), it is illegal to be on private or public property in any condition that creates a danger or annoyance to the neighborhood or others. Likewise, in Tempe (City Code 22-4), it is illegal to obstruct any public street or sidewalk.
  • In Chandler (City Code 11-10), Gilbert (City Code 42-64), Peoria (City Code 13-92) and Tempe (City Code 20-11) it is illegal to disturb the peace with unnecessary or unreasonably loud shouting or yelling.

The majority of these violations are civil charges that only result in paying a fine ($100-$2,500 depending on the city’s ordinance). However, there are a few instances in which a violation is a misdemeanor crime. Please check your city’s ordinances to see what rules apply to you and the potential consequences for violations.

If you have been cited for being drunk in public or a related violation, please contact a criminal attorney at Oracle Law Group Office P.C. for assistance with your case.

Photo credit: jchapiewsky from Flickr