Drunk in Public: Arlington, VA

Public intoxication in Arlington County, Virginia, is covered by both state and local law.

According to § 18.2-388 of the Virginia Code, it is illegal in Virginia to curse or swear “profanely” or to be intoxicated in public whether through drugs or alcohol.  In any area in which there is a court-approved detoxification center, a police officer may transport the suspect to the center in lieu of arrest, although nobody can be held at the center involuntarily.  “In public” is defined as a place that is “in open view, visible to the community, and could include a defendant’s private property. The penalty for being found guilty of this offense is a fine of not more than $250.

Public intoxication is also covered by local code in Arlington County.  Specifically, § 17-7 on “Public Drunkeness and Profanity” provides that is “shall be unlawful for any person to be drunk or profanely to curse or swear in any public place in the County.”  A first offense is punishable by a $100 fine.  The fine for being convicted three times within a year for the same offense is $500.  Arlington County Code, Chapter 17, §17-7 on Miscellaneous Offenses and Provisions.