Washington Redskins running back John Riggins was arrested early last Thursday morning in Reston on a drunk in public charge, Fairfax County police said yesterday.

Riggins, who lives on Vickers Drive in Vienna, was in a car driven by Stuart Miller of North Kentucky Street in Arlington, who was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated, police said.

After the arrest, Riggins and Miller were taken by Fairfax County police to appear before a magistrate, whose office is in the same building that houses the Adult Detention Center. After they appeared before the magistrate, Riggins and Miller were released from custody.

"They (Riggins and Miller) were never remanded to the custody of the sheriff," said Chief Sheriff's Deputy Carl R. Peed.

Michael Capone, the magistrate who handled the case, could not be reached for comment last night.

Whether someone charged with an alcohol-related offense is held at the jail is "a discretionary call on the part of the magistrate," according to Fairfax County Sheriff Wayne M. Huggins. "Normally speaking, in most cases the person is remanded to the custody of the sheriff."

Huggins said most people charged with alcohol-related offenses spend "four to six hours at the jail, depending on how drunk they are."

Reached at his home last night, Riggins declined comment. His attorney, Doug Woloshin, could not be reached for comment. Miller also could not be reached.

Riggins, who met with Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke yesterday at Cooke's Middleburg, Va., estate, still has not reached agreement on a contract with the team. However, all indications are he will agree to a one-year contract today and report to the team's Carlisle, Pa., training camp soon.

Cooke declined to comment on Riggins' arrest, as did Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs.

The Fairfax Code defines the charge of drunk in public this way: "If any person arrived at the age of discretion shall profanely curse or swear or get to be drunk in public, he shall be deemed guilty" of the charge.

The maximum penalty for being found guilty of being drunk in public in the state of Virginia is a $100 fine. For DWI, it's a maximum $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Warren R. Carmichael, a Fairfax County police spokesman, said of Riggins during the arrest: "He offered no resistance whatever. He was totally cooperative."

The car in which Miller and Riggins were riding was stopped by police at the intersection of Reston Avenue and Glade Drive in Fairfax County at about 1:50 a.m. last Thursday, according to the police report.

On Jan. 30, Riggins told Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, "Loosen up, Sandy baby," and later fell asleep on the floor during a speech by Vice President George Bush at the Washington Press Club's Salute to Congress at the Sheraton Washington.

After that incident, sources said the Redskins were upset about Riggins' behavior off the field (witnesses at the Jan. 30 dinner said Riggins was drinking wine before his 45-minute nap) and were concerned about his health and image.