Legal experts often refer to the crime of drunk and disorderly conduct as a "catchall offense." It's believed that it's referred to as such largely because individuals are often arrested for this crime when police fail to be able to identify any other crime a disruptive individual should be charged with.
When it comes to public intoxication, an offense that falls under the heading of drunk and disorderly conduct, a police officer may choose to arrest you for it if it appears that you're incapable of caring for yourself.
Law enforcement officers generally have to see that you're so intoxicated that you appear as if you're going to pass out or that you're unable to walk without assistance from others in order to arrest you for this. If you're getting up in other people's faces, being obnoxious or loud, then an officer may decide to arrest you for this type of crime as well.
The standard that must be met to arrest someone on suspicion of being drunk in public is a fairly low one. In most jurisdictions, a police officer only needs to testify that you appeared either high or drunk in order to charge you with public intoxication. A Breathalyzer test is often not required in order to secure a defendant's conviction for such charges in a court of law.
Legal experts argue that the best thing that you can do if you're arrested on drunk or disorderly conduct charges is to not open your mouth or speak.
If you speak up and say something even more inappropriate, then you could be charged with threatening a police officer, leading to additional charges being filed against you. If your voice came out slurred or you said that wrong thing, then you could unintentionally provide him or her with additional evidence that could be used against you at trial.
Drunk and disorderly conduct is considered a misdemeanor offense in most jurisdictions. It, however, may be upgraded to a felony charge if accompanied by other crimes. In addition to having to pay fines, a conviction for this crime may also require you to spend at least six months in jail.
In discussing the circumstances surrounding your arrest with a Christiansburg, Virginia, drunk and disorderly conduct attorney, he or she can advise you of potential penalties you're facing in your own case.