Public intoxication charge for sleeping in the car

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RIO GRANDE CITY – A woman in Starr County was arrested after drinking too much and falling asleep in her vehicle this week.

She was charged with public intoxication, an offense that can be broadly interpreted. 

Rio Grande City Police noticed the car that had its headlights on. When they looked inside, the found a woman sleeping. They woke her up and she admitted, in slurred speech, she had consumed alcohol. 

Attorney Chris Brasure who worked as a prosecutor in Hidalgo County says this is a common occurrence. It would even happen at fast food restaurants.

He said, "It actually was surprising to me how many cases that we prosecuted, that I prosecuted, that involved somebody asleep in their car in the drive-thru."

Brasure said the offense has broad application. "Public intoxication is defined in the Texas Penal Code as when somebody is intoxicated and is either a danger to themselves or another person."

The officer on the scene will consider certain factors when determining the danger. They will consider where the person is sitting, whether the engine is on, or who is around the intoxicated person.

"So, my advice would be don't get near the ability to operate a vehicle. If you need to get home it's best to call somebody you know, Uber, Lyft or a taxi."

A public intoxication charge is a Class C misdemeanor. The person will not go to jail on this charge alone, but it can include a fine of up to $500.00. 


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