On Friday, March 20th, a 27-year-old Canyon Country man was arrested and booked on misdemeanor charges including drinking in public and resisting arrest. It all started when deputies received calls reporting a traffic hazard near Sierra Hwy and Vasquez Canyon Rd. Deputies were told that there was a man in the road causing cars to swerve to avoid hitting him. Additionally, some witnesses reported the man to be throwing pieces of wood into the road.
When deputies arrived and confronted the suspect, he “became uncooperative and belligerent,” and the deputies could smell alcohol on him. The suspect was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor-level crimes: drinking in public and resisting arrest. He was taken to the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station to undergo booking and processing, and is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Public intoxication is covered under California Penal Code 647(f) PC and is described as being intoxicated on drugs or alcohol, in a public place, to the point of being unable to care for the safety oneself or others. For a person to be charged with violating 647(f) PC, the person does not necessarily have to be outside. Being in “public” includes being at a bar, restaurant, or other place that the public frequently gathers. Even some less public locations are considered “public” for the purposes of the law. These areas include apartment building hallways, an area in front of someone’s home (such as the street, driveway, or yard), and a car parked on a public street.
As mentioned, 647(f) PC is a misdemeanor, and the potential penalties include up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. In some cases a judge can sentence a defendant to serve out summary probation instead of spending time in jail. Provided the defendant does not commit any further crimes and adheres to the conditions of their probation, they will not spend time in custody for the duration of their sentence.