It’s 3 am and your friends have decided that you’re far too drunk to drive, so you decide to walk home. Red plastic cup in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. You place the cup against your lips, sucking the last of the foam and ice from the bottom. A quick drag from the smoke and you flip the butt out into the street. It sizzles as it lands in a small puddle left behind by a passing street sweeper. You toss the empty cup into a group of white azaleas near the entrance to an apartment building on the corner. It rolls in a slow half-circle, weighted by its thicker bottom, coming to rest near a mushroom-shaped landscape light.
A left turn and you’re on your way. Only a dozen blocks to go.
What a night! The party was great and the band was killer. In fact, you can’t get their tunes out of your head. Especially that PINK song, Raise Your Glass. So you start to sing…loudly. Too loud, in fact. But you don’t care because tonight you’re the man. Yep, you’re ten feet tall and bullet proof.
Raise your glass…
…never be anything but loud.
What part of party don’t you understand…
Doesn’t matter to you that you’re staggering through a normally quiet neighborhood, the one where two elderly women sit up all night peering outside, watching to see who got lucky and connected with their one-night-soul-mate. The ladies are also well-known for calling the police for every single sound that’s a little out of place. After all, you can’t take chances these days, right?
You think about the redhead who gave you her number. Awesome! She was the hottest woman there. You crank it up another notch.
Wish you’d just freak out…
I should be locked up on the spot!
Just your luck. It’s trash night and the curb is lined with dozens of garbage and recycle bins. You bump into an overflowing container, turning it over. A plastic bag filled with empty vegetable cans spills out onto the concrete walk. They ring out like church bells as they roll and tumble toward the curb. You slip and fall, landing on your stomach with your face resting near a storm drain. Cool stagnate air brushes across your booze-warmed cheeks.
Can’t stop, they’re coming in hot…
…It’s so on right now.
Raise your glass.
Suddenly, headlights round the corner. The car stops directly in front of you, idling. Then you hear it, the unmistakable crackles and robotic voices of police radios. Two pairs of shiny, black shoes make their way in your direction. You try to stand but that last drink, the double tequila shot, holds you down. The next couple of hours are a blur. The last clear memory is of puking in the backseat of a police car and the officer stating that she charged you as a DIP. And no, that doesn’t mean you were acting like Paula Abdul.
Actually, DIP is cop slang (an acronym) for Drunk In Public, one of the few offenses that’s pretty darn difficult to fight in court since the police are not required to conduct blood or breath tests for DIP cases. And beating the charge is next to impossible because this is one where it’s pretty much the officer’s word against yours. Fortunately, police officers nowadays normally have video evidence (cruiser cams) to back their testimony, if necessary. That’s if the case ever makes it to court, and chances are it won’t. Most people pay the small fine and move on.
In many areas, officers use the DIP (a misdemeanor) charge when a person is too intoxicated to care for himself, or could endanger another person. A DIP arrest could also be effected if the intoxicated subject is blocking or interfering with the free passage of foot or vehicle traffic on streets and/or sidewalks. The charge may also apply to someone who is under the influence of drugs. Either way, the charge is a discretionary call for the officer (See yesterday’s SouthLAnd review).
* Some states, such as Nevada and Missouri do not have public intoxication laws. Montana actually has a provision in their law that allows officers to take intoxicated subjects home, especially if they are a danger to themselves.
How does an officer determine if someone is DIP? Well, here’s a video of a person who just might meet the criteria. They call this young lady Donka Doo Ball. You’ll soon see why.