Drunk and Disorderly
It is an offence to be intoxicated in a public place to the extent that there is a reasonable apprehension that a person may endanger himself or others in the vicinity. A public place includes roadways, trains, vessels, busses, recreational areas or other areas to which the public has access either by right or on payment of a fee. Intoxicated means that a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The offence is committed when a person has a reasonable fear of danger to himself or others.
Where a person is in a public place and a Garda has reason to believe an offence of intoxication or disorderly conduct or threatening or abusive behaviour in public is being committed, the Garda may confiscate bottles or containers which he or she reasonably believes to contain an intoxicating substance.
Where a person is in custody in a Garda having been arrested under a power of arrest without warrant or for the offence at common law of breach of the peace, and would otherwise be released from custody, he or she may, if the member of the Garda in charge of the station is of opinion that the person is intoxicated to such an extent as would give rise to a reasonable apprehension that the person might endanger himself or herself or other persons, be detained in custody for such period, not exceeding 6 hours from the time of his or her arrest, as the member of the Gardai so in charge remains of that opinion.
Where the member of the Gardai in charge of the Garda station is of opinion that the person so detained is under the age of 18 years, the member shall, upon the attendance at the station of a parent or guardian of the person or of a person reasonably named by the person so detained, release the person into the custody of the parent or guardian or the person reasonably named, unless the member is of opinion that the person continues to be intoxicated to such an extent that, if so released, he or she will continue to give rise to a reasonable apprehension that he or she might endanger himself or herself or other persons.
Offensive and Threatening Conduct in Public
It is an offence to engage in offensive conduct in a public place between 12 midnight and 7 am. or at any time after Garda requests that the conduct ceases. Offensive conduct is unreasonable behaviour that is in the circumstances likely to cause serious annoyance or offence to anyone who might reasonably be expected to be aware of it.
Gardai are entitled to arrest persons engaging in disorderly or threatening conduct in a public place without a warrant.
A person is guilty of an offence by engaging in threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour with intent or being reckless as to breach of the peace.
The penalty for intoxication in a public place is subject on summary conviction to a fine of up to €500. The penalty in respect of disorderly conduct on summary conviction is a fine of up to €1,000 euro. The penalty in respect to threatening, abusive, or insulting behaviour is a fine of up to €1,000 or imprisonment up to 3 months or both.
It is an offence to distribute or display any writing or representation which is threatening, abusive, insulting, or obscene with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or being reckless as to whether occurs. The penalty is a fine of up to €1,000 or imprisonment of up to 3 months or both.
It is an offence without lawful and reasonable excuse to willfully interrupt a free passage for any person or vehicle in a public place. It is subject to a fine on summary conviction of up to €400.
Garda Directions and Offences
A member of the Garda Síochána who finds a person in a public place and suspects o with reasonable cause that he is or has been conducting himself in a manner which breaches any of the above provisions or consists of loitering in a public place either alone or with others in a way that gives rise to a reasonable apprehension for the safety of persons or property, for the maintenance of public peace, the member may direct the person suspected to desist from acting in such matter and leave immediately the vicinity in a peaceful and orderly manner.
It is an offence to refuse to comply with such direction without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. The punishment is fine of up to €1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.
Where a member of the Garda Síochána believes with reasonable cause that a person having a bottle or container containing intoxicating liquor is acting or accompanied by persons acting in a manner it gives rise to a reasonable apprehension for the safety of persons, property, or the maintenance of the public peace, or is causing or gives reasonable apprehension is likely to cause annoyance and nuisance to others or interference with other’s peaceful possession, enjoyment of their property, then the officer may do the following.
- seek an explanation of matters to which the relevant belief relates,
- request that the bottle or container be handed over, and if it is not, seize it,
- direct the person or if appropriate some or all of the accompanying persons to desist from the activity,
- direct the person and those others to leave in a reasonable and peaceful manner,
- request his name and address.
It is an offence to refuse to comply with the above request or to give false details. The person concerned may be arrested without a warrant. The person is guilty on summary conviction to a fine of up to €500 and €1,000 in the case of failure to leave or desist. The bottle and other containers seized may be detained and disposed of.
A member of the Gardai may enter without warrant a place other than a place used as a private dwelling if the member has reasonable grounds for believing that the matters specified in the last three paragraphs are occurring in such place.
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