With Mardi Gras and more than 130 festivals each year, it’s understandable why the New Orleans police often have the reputation for being more tolerant regarding “public nuisance” violations. Yet even with relaxed alcohol laws in the city, public intoxication is often the biggest culprit for legal troubles amid the merriment. And for those who have experienced it, the city’s Central Lockup is no place to greet the sunrise. For those visiting from out of town, here are New Orleans laws pertaining to alcohol use that, when broken, will likely require the attention of a criminal defense lawyer.
On the Streets: Plastic Only
While drinking outside is no problem for festivalgoers, no glass containers will be permitted due to the safety concerns of broken glass. As such, plastic containers, or “go-cups,” have become a NOLA institution.
To be so wasted in public that a reveler endangers himself and others will not be tolerated, nor will passing out on a bench or front stoop. Other actions that may result in a public intoxication charge include failure to pay cab drivers and bartenders and traversing a police cordon.
Issuing a summons or arresting an individual is the police officer’s call. Alcohol affects people in various ways, and irrational behavior is among them. Don’t get obnoxious or belligerent with the police, or worse yet, resist them. When questioned by a police officer during Mardi Gras, remain calm and follow their requests.
Fighting and Disturbing the Peace
NOLA police have no tolerance for drunken brawls. With crowded streets and lots of confined spaces during parades, accidental bumping or shoving can occur. When suddenly faced with a skirmish or escalating situation, try to diffuse it, apologize, and walk away.
Nature’s reaction to heavy drinking is frequent urination—and unfortunately, during Mardi Gras, this occurs too often in public. This behavior could quickly lead to a trip to Central Lockup, requiring the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer. The more civilized reveler will visit a restroom when stopping for a refill and keep track of the nearest port-o-potty.
Townsend Myers, a criminal defense lawyer since 1998 and founder of NOLA Criminal Law, has helped countless tourists after an alcohol-induced run-in with the law during Mardi Gras. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, NOLA Criminal Law has likely dealt with cases like yours. For immediate service, please call (504) 571-9529 or fill out our contact form today.