Oregon Public Intoxication Laws

Oregon has no law against public intoxication.

For more information on public intoxication laws generally, see Public Intoxication Laws and Penalties.

State Law

Like many states, Oregon treats public intoxication as a public health problem, not a crime. However, public intoxication can result in time in jail under certain circumstances.

People who are intoxicated and drive or operate a motor vehicle in public may still be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 430.402.)

Protective Custody

A police officer may take or send a person who is intoxicated in a public place to the person’s home or to a treatment facility.

A police officer is required to take a person who is intoxicated in public to a treatment facility if:

  • the person is incapacitated (unable to make rational decisions about the person’s need for treatment)
  • the person’s health appears to be in danger, or
  • the officer has reason to believe the person is dangerous to him or herself or others.

If taken to a treatment center, the person must be released from protective custody within 48 hours unless the person seeks voluntary admission to the center.

If no treatment center is available, a person who is drunk or under the influence of drugs may be taken to jail until the person is no longer intoxicated, incapacitated, or under the influence. However, if an intoxicated person needs medical attention, police must take the person to the nearest medical facility.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 430.399.)

For example, if a police officer found a young person drunk, vomiting, and unable to walk, the officer would have to take the person to a treatment center if one was available. The officer could take the person to jail only if no treatment facility was available, and if the person did not need medical attention.

Local Regulation

Local governments in Oregon, such as cities and towns, are prohibited from passing laws criminalizing or penalizing:

  • public intoxication
  • public drinking (except that local governments may prohibit public drinking in places where any consumption of alcohol is forbidden)
  • being drunk and disorderly
  • intoxication, drinking, or substance abuse by vagrants (homeless people), or
  • using or being under the influence of a controlled substance.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 430.402.)

For example, a local government can only ban or limit drinking in certain places (like public beaches) during certain times of the year, where alcohol consumption is already forbidden.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

If you are charged with a crime involving alcohol or drugs in Oregon, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and protect your rights.

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