San Bernardino Municipal Code for Drinking in Public

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

When I was a Deputy City Attorney in San Bernardino, I reviewed citations of  violations the San Bernardino Municipal Code.  I shared an alphabet split of criminal defendants with another Deputy City Attorney.  My alphabet case load was A-K for the vast majority of my almost five years at the San Bernardino City Attorney’s Office.  I would review each citation, and then put “OK” at the bottom of the citation, or if it needed amendment, City staff would make an amendment and I would put OK as amended, or I would turn down citations that could not be amended., or that did not violate the code, or had some defect.  I reviewed Code Enforcement citations, and also citations from the San Bernardino Police Department.

Many hundreds of the Police Department citations involved what are commonly called drinking in public.  Chapter 9.32 of the San Bernardino Municipal Code is entitled Public Consumption of Alcohol.  The section that needs to be cited is San Bernardino Municipal Code section 9.32.020, but commonly, the San Bernardino Police Department would cite 9.32.015, Possession of open container.  However, that section only states that there is a presumption of consuming alcohol in public when someone is observed with an open container and the odor of alcohol on their breath.  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 9.32.020 makes it unlawful to consume or attempt to consume alcohol in public.  San Bernardino Municipal Code Section 9.32.060 makes a violation of section 9.32.020 a straight infraction.

Typically, after approving the cites, I would never see them again, presumably the defendant plead guilty in front of a judge or commissioner, or the defendant failed to appear and a bench warrant was issued.  When I did see the cases, they were often in connection with a misdemeanor failure to appear.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP
A: 1447 Ford St. #201
      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 296-6708


About Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
Michael Reiter is a Redlands, California-based lawyer, serving San Bernardino County and Riverside County in Southern California's Inland Empire. Michael Reiter is a lawyer practicing in the following fields of law: Municipal Law, Code Enforcement Law, Small Business Law and Real Estate Law. Michael Reiter practices in all the local courts, including San Bernardino Superior Court, Riverside Superior Court, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Michael Reiter was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998. Michael Reiter was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, and Staff Attorney for Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. Michael Reiter serves all of San Bernardino and Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. Michael Reiter can be reached at (909) 296-6708, or by electronic mail at 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

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