Ohio law prohibits being drunk and disorderly. However, simply being intoxicated in public is not a crime in itself.

According to the Ohio penal code, you can commit the crime of being drunk and disorderly in two different ways: 1) being intoxicated and posing a risk of harm to yourself, other people or property; and 2) being intoxicated in  the presence of two or more individuals (or in a public place) while engaging in behavior that reasonably offends, scares, annoys or inconveniences others. This offense is a minor misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of $150.

Drunk and disorderly conduct becomes a fourth-degree misdemeanor if you do any of the following:

  • Continue the behavior after receiving a warning or request to stop.
  • Commit the offense in the presence of anyone responding to an emergency, such as a police officer, paramedic or firefighter.
  • Commit the offense near or at a school.

This is punishable by a fine of $250 and 30 days of jail time.

In some cases, law enforcement officials and judges may opt to place a drunk and disorderly person into protective custody and treatment in lieu of criminal punishment. For example, a police officer may take you to an alcohol treatment program instead of arresting you. A judge also has the ability to place you in a treatment program and may dismiss your charges if you successfully complete the treatment. Even if you receive fines and sentencing for the offense, the judge may also order you to enter into alcohol treatment.

This information is solely educational and should not be taken as legal advice.