The New York Criminal Law Blog

Cinco De Mayo: Drunk in Public is Legal, Drinking in Public is Not!

Is New York the most perfect place in the country for people to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Unlike most of the rest of the country, there is not a specific law prohibiting being drunk in public. However, you still need to exercise a little caution, as open containers of alcohol and drugged in public are still prohibited, as is lewd conduct and numerous other things that happen when drunk people are, well, drunk.

To celebrate the awesomeness of New York's law or lack thereof, and Cinco De Mayo, here is a recipe for Mojitos Diablos. This should provide an unhealthy alternative to those Coronas, Dos Equis, and margaritas. You might also enjoy the song, posted after the break, by B.O.B., about being on a beach down in Mexico.

Just don't enjoy either on your front stoop or beyond.

You are within your legal rights to sing along while reasonably drunk in public.

Thanks to the gloriousness of New York’s law, you can drink in private and then venture into the streets to enjoy the majesty of a beautiful Saturday in the city so nice they named it twice. However, remember to leave those drinks at home, as drinking in public is still illegal, much to the chagrin of many. The penalty is only $25, but that’s still a decent amount of beer money.

Also, while the police are too busy to routinely stop and sniff cups, if you are drunk in public and acting like a fool, you may be approached by a police officer. If he/she can smell the alcohol in your red plastic cup, you’ll probably get a ticket. Remember, drunk in public is okay; drinking in public is not.

Also, though it may be tempting to you personally, don’t do drugs. IAnd if you must, stay out of public. Being under the influence of drugs while in public, to the extent that you are a danger to yourself or others, is punishable by a fine and up to fifteen days in jail. At least in regards to open alcohol container laws, “public” includes your front stoop. It is quite doubtful they’ll be more generous for drugs.

Drink safely, drink carefully, drink responsibly and stay thirsty, my friends.

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