Drunk in Public/Public Intoxication (PC 647 (f)):
In order to violate California’s “drunk in public” law, you need to be so intoxicated that you are either unable to exercise care for your safety or those around you, or, you have interfered, obstructed, or prevented others from using streets, roads, sidewalks, and so forth. Behaving in such a way that invades the peace of others could land you a drunk in public charge.
Penalties (PC 647 (f)):
If convicted of PC 647 (f), a misdemeanor charge will be placed on your record. It will be visible to prospective employers and licensing agencies. If convicted you may face up to 6 months in county jail and/or pay up to $1,000 in fines.
Legal Defenses (PC 647 (f)):
Our skilled criminal defense team of lawyers can use a variety of legal defenses in order to reduce or dismiss your PC 647(f) charge. Some of these defenses include: arguing you were not in a public place, there is insufficient evidence to prove your high level of intoxication, or your civil rights were violated by the police who investigated the charge.
California: California Penal Code 647(f) considers public intoxication a misdemeanor. The code describes public intoxication as someone who displays intoxication to liquor, drugs, controlled substances or toluene and demonstrates an inability to care for themselves or others, or interferes or obstructs the free use of streets, sidewalks or other public way. California Penal Code 647(g) affords law enforcement the option to take an individual fitting the arrest criteria for 647(f), and no other crime, into civil protective custody if a “sobering facility” is available. Essentially, the detainee agrees to remain at the location until the facility’s staff consents to their departure; usually after four hours and upon the belief that the detainee is safe to look after themselves. Not every municipality in California has such a facility. Also, if a person is being combative and/or is under the influence of drugs, they will be taken to jail. Unlike a person who is taken to jail, a civil detainee under 647(g) is not later prosecuted in a court of law. –Wikipedia