The prohibition on profanely cursing in public will not change, but the Board will consider changing “drunkenness” in the code to “intoxication,” to include those under the influence of narcotics. County staff is also recommending making the crime a Class 4 misdemeanor, the punishment for which is a fine not to exceed $250.
Currently, county code calls for a fine not to exceed $100 for the first two convictions in a year, and a fine not to exceed $500 for any additional convictions.
“These recommended changes to the penalty portion of the Code are meant to simplify and align the County Code with State Code” staff said of the proposed changes, adding that it will also “clear up any ambiguity or constitutional vagueness with the current language.”
Included in the staff report is the number of arrests for drunkenness and profane cursing last year — and there were quite a few.
“The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) made 664 arrests for individuals either appearing drunk or using profanity in public during calendar year 2014,” county staff reported. “There were instances where individuals were under the influence of other intoxicants; however, enforcement was not possible under this Code section.”