Is Alcohol Intoxication a Misdemeanor in Kentucky
Many people think that only alcoholics experience problems from drinking, but the truth is that even an occasional drinker can face negative consequences. There are many risks that come with excessive use of alcohol.
Short term risks of alcohol use include unintentional injuries, poor decision making, and risky behavior. There are also long term risks like hypertension, liver disease, cancer, and alcohol dependence.
Alcohol drinking is often associated with celebrations, get-togethers, or relaxing after work. Unfortunately, many people take it to excess drinking too much and doing so in a short amount of time.
When this occurs, the person is likely to experience drunkenness which is actually alcohol intoxication.
Symptoms and Dangers of Alcohol Intoxication
When a person becomes intoxicated, they will experience different symptoms. These symptoms can vary widely depending on gender, weight, tolerance, and other factors. Typically though, there are seven stages of alcohol intoxication and the symptoms that are associated with them include:
- Increase in confidence
- Becoming chatty
- Delayed reaction time
- Decrease in inhibitions
- Loss of judgment
- Balance issues
- Problems with vision
- Emotional outbursts
- Loss of coordination
- Extreme confusion
- Inability to feel pain
As a person becomes more and more intoxicated, they are more likely to experience worse outcomes. One of the more dangerous outcomes is alcohol poisoning which can result in death.
Who is Most Likely to Experience Alcohol Intoxication
There is data to support the fact that some people are more prone to alcohol intoxication than others. Excessive drinking is more prevalent among:
- People between 18 and 55 (when compared to those over 45)
- People over the age of 25 who graduated high school (when compared to those who did not graduate)
- People over 25 with an income of at least $75,000/year
- People who are white or Pacific Islander/Hawaiian (when compared to those who are Asian or African American)
What is Public Intoxication?
When a person is in public and drinks to excess, becoming drunk, they can be charged with public intoxication.
In the state of Kentucky, for a person to be charged with public intoxication, certain legal requirements must be met. They must be in a public place, must be under the influence of a controlled substance, they must be a danger to themselves or others (or being unreasonably annoying to those around them). It is also illegal to consume alcohol in public in the state of Kentucky.
Consequences of Public Intoxication
Each state has different rules regarding public intoxication, and the laws vary widely even between jurisdictions.
The issue has even been brought before the Supreme Court in the case of Powell vs. Texas in 1968. The Court ruled that states could make laws regarding public intoxication without violating the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. The Court also upheld the punishments associated with public intoxication.
This ruling allows each state to charge people with a crime and enforce punishments such as fines and jail time.
In the state of Kentucky, public intoxication is a misdemeanor. The punishment for public intoxication is a fine of up to $250, up to 90 days in jail, or both.
What is a Misdemeanor?
Criminal charges are separated into different categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
Infractions are typically minor offenses that carry punishments by fine only.
Felonies are serious crimes (like arson or burglary) and receive harsher punishments.
Misdemeanors are crimes that fall in the middle. These crimes are more serious than infractions but less serious than felonies. Punishments for misdemeanors typically include fines as well as up to a year of jail time.
When Alcohol Becomes A Problem
This doesn’t mean that alcohol is not a problem for the citizens of Kentucky, however. Some of the problems that occur with alcohol include:
- 14% of students engage in binge drinking according to the CDC
- 16% of adults in the state engage in heavy drinking
- The rate of deaths attributed to drunk driving is higher than the national average
- 1.5% of Kentucky adults report driving drunk
What Comes Next
Perhaps you or a loved one is facing misdemeanor charges for alcohol intoxication. If so, it’s vital to get help before the problem gets worse.
With locations in Louisville and Lexington, we are ready to help you through your recovery from struggles with alcohol and addiction. We have the skills and knowledge to provide you the support, encouragement, and care you need for sustainable recovery.
Contact us today to learn about our treatment options or call our admissions team right now at 888-448-0302.