St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday this year, which means that many partygoers will be celebrating all weekend long. While many people who celebrate St. Paddy’s Day use it as an excuse to get rowdy, be cautious. Enjoy the holiday weekend, but know that the luck of the Irish won’t help if you if you really lose control.
Last year, the son of a Greenville officer had to learn this lesson the hard way.
St. Paddy’s Day Assault Near ECU Leads to Multiple Arrests
Last year, Patrick Myrick allegedly struck a woman outside of Club 519 around East Carolina University. In response, multiple men attacked Myrick in what news sources called a “brutal group beating.”
You may remember this case because it caused quite a bit of controversy. Myrick is black, and the alleged attackers are white. At the time of the attack, Myrick was handcuffed, but the white attackers were let go.
By May of last year, six people had been arrested in the case, including Myrick. One of the alleged attackers, Chase Montanye, turned himself in the month after the alleged attack. Police released a statement assuring the public that Montayne would receive the same treatment as all of the other suspects.
Why go to the trouble? You guessed it – because he is the son of a police officer.
Montanye’s story is important, because it clearly illustrates that no matter who you are, misbehaving during a holiday weekend is not an excuse. Whether you are charged with assault, DUI, or drunk and disorderly conduct, your St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans can have very serious consequences.
What Is “Drunk and Disorderly Conduct” in North Carolina?
First things first: in North Carolina, public intoxication is not a crime. That means even if you’re stumbling around in public during St. Patrick’s Day because you’ve had too much to drink, you can’t be arrested. Clearly intoxicated individuals may be taken into protective custody to sober up, but they will not be placed under arrest.
There is a criminal charge, however, for drunk and disorderly conduct. What’s the difference?
An individual can be arrested and charged with drunk and disorderly conduct if they are drunk and being disruptive. A few ways someone could be considered disruptive include:
- Blocking traffic
- Blocking the use of a sidewalk or entrance to a building
- Fighting, inciting a fight
- Shouting, yelling, or using obscene language toward others
- Panhandling or begging for money
You could also be arrested for plain and simple disorderly conduct.
However, officers do have some latitude. If a cop thinks that protective custody is the best option for the disruptive individual, they will be transferred to the appropriate facility and issued a citation after they sober up.
Otherwise, though, the charge is a class 3 misdemeanor. For first-time offenders, a conviction calls for penalties including a fine of $200 and up to 10 days in jail. A second conviction calls for up to 20 days in jail.
Intoxication typically isn’t an appropriate defense strategy for any crime, much less drunk and disorderly conduct. However, alcoholism is a legitimate defense for these charges. If you use this as your strategy, the court may civilly commit you, but you will not have to suffer criminal consequences. Of course, proving alcoholism may require the help of a doctor, substance abuse counselor, or other related professional.
Obviously, drunk and disorderly conduct isn’t the most serious charge. However, many times when people get this charge, it comes bundled up with other offenses, and they can add up fast. Beyond this, any charge – misdemeanor or felony – will earn you a criminal record, which can make all kinds of things more difficult for you.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, reach out to a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense. He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.