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Rutherford County DUI and Public Intoxication Attorney

Preventing incarceration through compassionate representation

While it is not technically illegal to get drunk in Tennessee, as long as a person is of legal drinking age, being drunk in public can result in criminal charges. Having access to competent legal representation can make the difference of whether you wind up behind bars or in an alcohol treatment program.

At the Law Office of David L. Scott, you can trust your legal matter is handled with professionalism. Our Rutherford County DUI attorney has more than 20 years of experience defending clients against crimes, including DUI, underage drinking and public intoxication. Our extensive negotiation skills and trial experience gives us the ability to develop strong defensive strategies to protect your future and best interests.

Tennessee Public intoxication laws 

Tennessee law allows law enforcement officers to arrest a person if he or she is in public under the influence of alcohol or drugs if the person may be endangered, represents a danger to other people or property or unreasonably annoys people in the area. Tennessee law defines a public place as a location that the public has a right of access to. Unreasonably annoying others is not specifically defined by law and can result even if the defendant’s conduct is not offensive or indecent. It also includes being in a car if someone could endanger others. Public intoxication is a misdemeanor in Tennessee.

Legal defenses often attack the elements of public intoxication. For example, a lawyer may argue that a defendant was not in public and that his or her conduct did not affect anyone else. A lawyer may argue that a person was not actually drunk. Even if the individual consumed a few alcoholic beverages, he or she may not have appeared drunk if he or she could walk, talk without slurring words or having other physical signs of drunkenness. If the prosecutor is basing the crime off of the individual unreasonably annoying others, he or she must present evidence that someone was actually annoyed and not just that people could have been annoyed.

Potential treatment options

Tennessee lawmakers have long recognized the prudence of encouraging treatment over punishment when dealing with public intoxication. Tennessee laws promote medical intervention when a person is facing charges of this nature. Voluntary treatment or protective custody may be options considered by prosecutors. Intoxicated individuals are often taken into protective custody by law enforcement officers, which is short of an actual arrest. They are then taken to a judicial officer who assigns them to treatment in an approved facility if the judicial officer determines that the defendant requires treatment, the person agrees to treatment and an approved treatment facility is available in the county where the individual was taken into custody.

The treatment option is only available in counties that have approved facilities. If there is not such a facility available or the person does not agree to treatment, he or she may be charged with a misdemeanor for public intoxication and may ultimately be incarcerated. 

Facing public intoxication charges? Consult our Rutherford County DUI attorney to learn about your legal rights

Being convicted of public intoxication can result in acquiring a criminal record that follows you around for a long time, potentially affecting your ability to secure the job you’ve always wanted. Conviction can result in up to 30 days in jail. It is important to contact the DUI attorney at the Law Office of David L. Scott immediately after being arrested for public intoxication or DUI. Our experienced attorney can explore the possibility of protective custody and treatment. To schedule a free consultation call 615-896-7656 or contact us online. Offices in Murfreesboro and Nashville.




2 Locations to Serve You

722 South Church Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Phone: 615-896-7656

Map and Directions


4322 Harding Pike #417
Nashville, TN 37205

Phone: 615-203-8062

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Based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we are pleased to serve clients throughout Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville, Woodbury, McMinnville, Manchester, Shelbyville, Lebanon, Mount Juliet and other communities in Rutherford County, Williamson County, Cannon County, Bedford County, Davidson County, Wilson County and Coffee County.


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