Drunk in Public

– section 13 of the Summary Offences Act 1966
drunk in public


This offence means exactly what it says, it is an offence for someone to be drunk in a public place.

Examples of Drunk in Public
  • A group of friends have been drinking all day at a bar and they take the tram to the footy.
  • A woman who is drunk is sitting at Federation Square.
  • A drunk man walks down the street.
What are some of the possible defences to a Drunk in Public charge?
  • You were not drunk.
  • You were not drunk in public.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • How much had you been drinking?
  • Can they prove that you were drunk?
  • Where were you at the time?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 8 penalty units.

Drunk in public cases are heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“Were you drunk in public?”
What is the legal definition of Drunk in Public?

Being drunk while in a public place.


The section that covers this offence is section 13 of the Summary Offences Act 1966.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

If you are found guilty, you will get a fine or a Community Corrections Order. Normally when you turn up for Court for this charge it is dismissed at the coordinators counter. This is generally because people are lodged for 4hrs in police cells prior to being released.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies

[1] Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 13

Any person found drunk in a public place shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty: 8 penalty units.