Drunk and disorderly behaviour is one of the more minor public order offences comes under the Public Order Act 1986. However, it is still a criminal offence and can still result in a range of different punishments. Here, you’ll find in-depth information on what this offence entails and what you can expect to be charged with if you are found to be guilty of this crime.
What Is Drunk And Disorderly?
This is defined as a person who in any public place is guilty of behaving in a disorderly manner whilst under the influence of alcohol. This means that the police can arrest you if they deem you to be creating a public disturbance whilst drunk, which they can determine with their own discretion. They may do this if they think it is necessary to ensure your own safety and that of those around you.
Drunk and disorderly behaviour can lead to a variety of punishments. Some of these can be handed down without charging you and taking you to court. These include:
- An official caution
- An on-the-spot fine (fixed penalty notice)
If you are taken to court by the police, there are a number of other, more serious punishments that you could potentially be prosecuted for. These include one or more of the following:
- A conditional discharge
- A maximum fine of £1,000
- An ASBO (Anti-social behaviour order)
- A DBO (Drinking banning order)
Unfortunately, even if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit you cannot usually get Legal Aid at Court for a drunk and disorderly offence. You can however instruct a solicitor to appear on your behalf if you are willing to pay privately for a solicitor. You should consider instructing a solicitor if you think that your job might be at risk if you get convicted at Court.
What Is An ASBO?
Anyone over the age of 10 years old can receive an ASBO if their behaviour (not only drunken behaviour) is deemed to be anti-social. By receiving an ASBO, you will be restricted from doing certain things, such as:
- Going to certain places e.g. local town centre
- Drinking in the street
- Spending time with people who are known to be troublesome
An ASBO lasts for a minimum of 2 years and can be for an indefinite period of time, but can be lifted if you display good behaviour. If you fail to obey the terms of your ASBO and/or continue to display drunk and disorderly behaviour, you will be taken to court and sentenced. Punishments include one or both of the following:
- A maximum fine of £5,000
- Imprisonment for up to 5 years
What Is A DBO?
A DBO can be handed down if you break the law or cause problems whilst under the influence of alcohol. Unlike an ASBO, you can only receive one if you are 16 years of age or older. For instance, reasons for receiving this banning order include:
- Antisocial behaviour
- Threatening behaviour
- Public urination
When you receive a DBO, you will be banned from doing certain things. Examples include:
- Buying alcohol
- Consuming or possessing alcohol in a public place
- Entering certain establishments that serve alcohol
A DBO can last between 2 months and 2 years. Some people are offered a health and drinking awareness course, which can shorten the length of your DBO. This course is not mandatory, but you will have to pay for it yourself should you decide to take it.
Breaching the terms of your DBO is a criminal offence and will see you taken to court and sentenced. If you are found to be guilty, you could receive a maximum fine of £2,500.
If you or someone you know has been charged with drunk and disorderly behaviour and would like a consultation from a reliable, experienced solicitor, either use our online contact form or give us a call on 01244 344 299.