Is it Illegal to be Publicly Intoxicated in Colorado?
If you're a fan of comedian Ron White, you've probably heard his joke about being arrested for being drunk in public, while he argues that he was drunk in a bar and then thrown into public.
On that note, have you ever wondered just how drunk you have to be in Colorado to be arrested for just being under the influence of alcohol in a public setting? The answer may surprise you.
What Does Colorado Law Say About Public Intoxication?
Believe it or not, it isn't necessarily a crime in Colorado to simply be under the influence of alcohol in a public setting. In fact, law enforcement and first responders are specifically trained on how to handle a person who has had too much to drink, rather than just throw them in the slammer with a fine.
It may also come as a surprise to learn that there actually is a law in Colorado that forbids the passage of any laws on the local level that criminalize public intoxication.
That being said, if you are publicly intoxicated and not on your very best behavior, everything changes.
How to Be Arrested for Being Drunk in Public in Colorado
It's true, it's not technically illegal to be drunk in public in Colorado, as long as you're on your best behavior.
However, if you're drunk and making a lot of noise, saying offensive things near private residences, or a combination of the two, you could be arrested for disorderly conduct which can carry hefty fines and a penalty of as many as six months in jail.
Another way that public intoxication could land you in a Colorado jail is for being a public nuisance which includes almost any activity that disturbs the peace in a residential area or park.
Finally, if you're drunk in public and speaking in a way that some might consider obscene, touching another person without permission, taunting another person, following another person, or even harassing someone via mobile communication, you could be arrested in Colorado for harassment which also can carry up to six months in jail.
However, if the harassment is motivated by race, religion, or similar characteristics, the fines increase, and jail time becomes mandatory.
So, while it is technically legal to be drunk in public in the state of Colorado, if you're going to do it you'd better make sure to be on your absolute best behavior.