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Luck o' the Law: Tips for St. Patrick's Day

By Andrew Lu on March 14, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

St. Patrick's Day is Sunday, and along with celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, many Americans will be drinking. This, of course, can lead to legal trouble.

But even if you do get busted after tossing back too much booze, it's not necessarily the end of the world. Some of the most common drinking-related infractions also come with some important legal caveats.

As luck would have it, you've come to the right place to learn more about these laws. Here's a look at three of the most common reasons for St. Patrick's Day arrests:

Public Intoxication

While each state defines public intoxication differently, there are some common elements to the crime. Generally, public intoxication involves someone being visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs in a public place. Sometimes, you don't even need to be drunk to be convicted of the offense. Instead, if you simply appear drunk or intoxicated, you could get arrested.

Keep in mind that these crimes have to occur in a public place like a street, park, or sidewalk. Drunken behavior at someone's home or in a business may not be illegal.

Public Urination

Relieving yourself in public is generally considered a crime. This can include urinating on walls, on lawns, and in between parked cars. So if you're going to go out drinking, you'll want to make sure to relieve yourself before heading outside. Also remember that if you're busted for public urination, you may also face charges of public intoxication or even indecent exposure.

Drunken Driving

If you've had too much to drink and get behind the wheel, you could get arrested for a DUI. During heavy drinking holidays like St. Patrick's Day, police will be out in full force looking for signs of inebriation like erratic driving, speeding, and trouble staying in a lane. And if you get arrested for a DUI, you could face jail time, monetary fines, and even lose your license.

Fortunately, it's pretty simple to avoid a DUI: Just don't drink and drive. If you're planning to go out and have a few drinks over the weekend, consider having a designated driver or simply programming the number of a cab into your smartphone.

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