Charged with public intoxication and forced to take an ambulance?

by Briana
(Berkley, Michigan)

Friends took me to a place, and people I was told were buying me a round or two. I am a young female of legal age and would consider myself a somewhat novice drinker and never got wasted... that is until that night. I was told I was doing fine then bam! I guess the alcohol hit me.

My friend who is also a nurse said that I might also be dehydrated, since I came from the gym and also was dieting, and said they would take me to the hospital to get some fluids. We came by taxi and planned to leave by taxi.

The bouncer or manager came over and said that he has to legally call an ambulance and said we had to stay there until they came. We thought this was odd, but he insisted that legally he was obligated. But given that, it was strange that he made us wait outside for the ambulance.

My friends were cooperative, and said I was not disorderly nor were they. The ambulance arrived and I got in and went to hospital. I was offered and took fluids and took IV, then was allowed to leave, and my parent met us at the hospital and we were allowed to leave. When I got home I found a citation written for 'Public Intoxication'.

Apparently my friends said a cop was there shortly after the ambulance, since they are usually nearby in that bar district and were checking to make sure everything was alright. I am not proud and embarrassed about what happened, and this cost me about $1500 for the ambulance and ER visit.

We thought we were being reasonably responsible by getting taxied for the night and not out of order and cooperative. They are saying this will now be on my record as a criminal misdemeanor, plus probation, plus community service and alcohol education. This is my first kind of infraction for anything, I've never even been cited for a traffic or parking infraction.

They said it was not entrapment to get me outside, and that inside is public too because the public is invited in. No one I talked to, including older persons knew this could happen, since they all have seen so many people over the years get rowdy, loud, obnoxious, puke (I did in toilet though) and never had police ticketed, just leave or call cab, unless damaged stuff or had a big fight.

I was told that Bars are treated differently because it is expected that some people may over imbibe. We all have seen worse in bars and those who were just told to leave.

Is there any way I can get this removed? It is very important for me to have a clean record. Can I make the bar pay some of my costs incurred, since they forced us to go in an ambulance and wait outside in public. What can I do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Charged with public intoxication and forced to take an ambulance?":

Briana (Berkley, Michigan):

A private person, company, bar, restaurant, or any other entity can not legally or illegally entrap persons. Legal entrapment can only occur when a police agency acts in a purposeful manner to entrap a person to commit a crime.

Unless you have already entered a plea of guilty to the public intoxication citation, you may still have a way to have your case dismissed. Generally speaking, in the State of Michigan certain crimes may be dismissed, even when the accused is factually guilty of the crime.

In Michigan the manner in which a crime can be dismissed is referred to as a "Deferred Judgment of Guilt."

With a deferred judgement of guilt, an accused may have to perform community service or pay nominal court costs, and then be placed on probation. If during the probationary period the accused does not commit another crime of any type, and does not otherwise violate his or her probation, the case will ultimately be dismissed.

You can read more about Michigan's deferred judgment of guilt here.

Bars have a legal duty of care to do everything within reason to protect patrons, whether intoxicated or not. When a patron becomes intoxicated and appears to be sick, it can be argued the bar, via its employees, has a duty to call for medical assistance.

The bar, via its bouncer, appears to have acted appropriately in calling an ambulance. By your own admission you were quite seriously intoxicated. Your nurse friend advised you you may be dehydrated and in need of fluids.

From the amount of alcohol you apparently consumed it can be argued you may have been suffering from alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can result in brain damage, or in more severe cases, death. Because the "bouncer" acted appropriately and may have saved your life, the bar will likely not be responsible for your ambulance and hospital costs.

When it comes to criminal matters, there is no substitution for good legal advice. There is just too much to lose for an accused to represent him or herself. The last thing you want is to have a criminal conviction on your record, even if only for a charge of public intoxication.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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