St. Paddy’s PSA: Drunkeness Isn’t a MN Crime, But Disorderly Conduct Is

Saint Patrick’s Day, also known as St. Paddy’s Day, is a festive day that many people look forward to celebrating. It’s a day when people of all ages gather together to enjoy parades, drink green beer, and eat corned beef and cabbage. However, with all of the excitement that surrounds St. Paddy’s Day, it’s important to remember that drunkenness is not a crime in Minnesota, but disorderly conduct is.

In Minnesota, the law states that a person can be charged with disorderly conduct if they behave in a way that is likely to cause alarm, anger, or resentment in others. Disorderly conduct can include a wide range of behaviors, such as fighting, loud and boisterous behavior, and creating a disturbance in a public place.

While being drunk in public is not a crime in Minnesota, it can lead to disorderly conduct charges if the person’s behavior is deemed disruptive or harmful. For example, if someone is stumbling around, shouting obscenities, or engaging in other forms of disruptive behavior, they may be charged with disorderly conduct.

What Are The Consequences for Disorderly Conduct in Minnesota?

The consequences of a disorderly conduct charge in Minnesota can be severe. A conviction can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail. In addition, a disorderly conduct conviction can also impact a person’s future, as it will appear on their criminal record and could potentially affect their ability to get a job or secure housing.

To avoid disorderly conduct charges on St. Paddy’s Day, it’s important to practice responsible drinking. This means staying within your limits, pacing yourself, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It’s also important to avoid confrontations with others and to be mindful of your behavior in public.

Another important thing to keep in mind on St. Paddy’s Day is the importance of designated drivers. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, impaired driving is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in Minnesota. To avoid getting behind the wheel while under the influence, it’s important to plan ahead and designate a sober driver or use a ride-sharing service.

In addition to disorderly conduct charges, there are other legal consequences to consider on St. Paddy’s Day. Under Minnesota law, it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. In addition, it is also illegal to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. Violations of these laws can result in fines and potentially the loss of a liquor license for businesses.

What Are The Consequences for Disorderly Conduct in Minnesota?

How To Avoid A Disorderly Conduct Charge on St. Patrick’s Day in MN

To avoid these legal consequences, it’s important for businesses to properly train their employees to recognize signs of intoxication and to refuse service to anyone who appears to be visibly intoxicated. Additionally, businesses can also help promote responsible drinking by offering non-alcoholic drink options and by providing food to customers who are consuming alcohol.

In conclusion, while drunkenness is not a crime in Minnesota, disorderly conduct is. On St. Paddy’s Day, it’s important to practice responsible drinking and to be mindful of your behavior in public. By doing so, you can avoid potential legal consequences and help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday. Remember, it’s not about how much you drink, it’s about how you drink.


About the Author:

A former Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial District in Duluth and former staff attorney for the Indian Legal Assistance Program, Brent R. Olson is an experienced trial lawyer who has appeared in every Courthouse in the Sixth Judicial District and taken over three dozen cases to verdict. At LaCourse, Poole & Envall, Mr. Envall focuses on family law, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense. He has a strong belief in restorative justice and helped to develop the Domestic Violence Restorative Circles program.