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Public intoxication is not illegal in Minnesota

On Behalf of | May 20, 2019 | Blog

Several states have laws that prohibit public drunkenness. These offenses are often known as public intoxication, drunk in public or drunk and disorderly. However, it may surprise individuals to learn that Minnesota has no law against public intoxication. While some people may frown on the behavior, it is not a criminal act.

Not only is there no law that criminalizes public intoxication, but there is actually a statute that explicitly states that no person can face charges or a conviction for drunkenness. This is a much further step than most state legislatures take. But it is important to note that drunkenness often plays a role in other crimes.

Disorderly conduct

While public drunkenness may not be a criminal offense in Minnesota, acting disorderly certainly is. In Minnesota, disorderly conduct includes the following:

  • Brawling or fighting
  • Using offensive or obscene language
  • Disturbing a lawful meeting
  • Engaging in an offensive, obscene or noisy behavior that is likely to alarm or upset others

Essentially, disorderly conduct is any behavior or language that provokes other people to become upset, angry, disturbed or violent. It is clear to see that someone who is drunk may be guilty of disorderly conduct, even if alcohol does not play a role in the charges or conviction.

Driving while intoxicated

Of course, if someone is drunk in public, he or she may drive while drunk too. An individual can face DWI charges while impaired at any BAC if he or she exhibits signs of impairment, but the legal BAC limit is 0.08%.

Violence and assault

There is often a link between alcohol and violent acts. Approximately 40% of people convicted of violent crimes were drinking at the time of committing the offenses. Drinking especially plays a role in domestic violence, assault and murder.


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