San Bernardino Municipal Code for Drinking in Public
April 26, 2011 Leave a comment
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.
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Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law