Court: Scottsdale Can't Prosecute Public Drunkenness

May 06, 2014

The Arizona Court of Appeals says the city of Scottsdale cannot prosecute people for being incapacitated in public because they’re under the influence of alcohol.

The court’s ruling Tuesday says Scottsdale’s law is trumped by a state law, prohibiting penalties for being intoxicated in public.

Scottsdale approved the law to help curb rowdy behavior in its entertainment district. The court ruling says state law decriminalizes public intoxication and treats alcoholism as a disease.

The decision was the result of an appeal by city prosecutors, after a municipal judge made a similar finding. A Superior Court judge had held local laws against intoxication are not barred when the offense includes being under the influence of alcohol.

The Appeals court disagreed.