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Public intoxication is a thing, and not a good thing

Public intoxication is a thing, and not a good thing.




There are many things we do in the comfort of our own homes. It’s private and in many ways, it’s more comfortable. Socializing with family and friends is something many of us do. How hard we socialize is up to each individual, but we should remember we’re out to have a good time, without hurting ourselves or anyone else. However, sometimes that gets pushed to the limits.


It’s very easy to overindulge when we’re having a good time with family or friends. It’s also easy to drink a lot, especially while snacking at the same time. But what if this party gets taken outside. Are there certain rules about being intoxicated in public throughout Canada? Yes, and it’s important we all know this.

First of all, there is a difference between being drunk or intoxicated and being impaired. Being drunk is being in a state of intoxication caused by the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol while being impaired is rendered less effective and less severe. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it defines intoxication is “the condition of having physical or mental control diminished by the effects of alcohol or drugs.” The definition of impairment is “diminishment or loss of function or ability”.


The Canadian liquor laws are created provincially and not federally. It should be noted the Canadian Government considers an alcoholic beverage if it contains 1.1% or more alcohol by volume. However, the type of liquor you are consuming is not as important as where you’re drinking it and how it is affecting you that matters most.

Just like drinking and driving, if you happen to be caught in a state of public intoxication you will be fined and jailed until you become sober, which can be quite the sobering experience. It should also be noted that it is a violation of provincial acts and municipal bylaws to drink in public in most Canadian provinces other than Quebec. You are allowed to consume alcohol in your home but not in public parks, although they may seem like an ideal place to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on a hot summer’s day.


If the party goes outside of your home to the street, that will lead to serious consequences if anyone was considered drunk or intoxicated. Across Canada, public intoxication is strictly prohibited. Being intoxicated in public is an offense under both federal and provincial law. At the federal level, Section 175 of the Criminal Code deems it as an offense to cause a disruption in a public setting by being drunk.


The offense is punishable by summary conviction. What this means is that it can carry up to six months in jail or a fine or perhaps even both. Note that you actually have to cause a disturbance in order for the police to charge you. Considering that intoxication often leads to poor judgment, that is highly possible.

As a host of a party, we really do need to do our part to reduce the problem of having friends or family members charged with public intoxication. Simple enough, have single-use or personal breathalyzers available from Not Your Child Corp at your party. They are easy to use and if you give them out when your guests arrive, they can see them and be interested in them before they begin to drink. It can protect them before they leave your dwelling, even if they are not planning to drive afterward…which is a good thing.


Scott Corner Blogs

Scott Marshall has spent over 30 years promoting road safety in many jurisdictions. He has been a road safety journalist since 2005. Scott was also an on-air judge on the Discovery Network's Canada's Worst Driver during their first 3 seasons on the air. Not YourChildCorp. is proud to have Scott @Safedriver as a frequent contributor, his insights are irreplaceable.

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