Virginia labels people ‘habitual drunkards’ under old law

April 6, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Authorities in Virginia are continuing to jail or fine people based on an old and obscure law that’s known as the “habitual drunkard” statute.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Friday that more than 1,700 Virginians have been labeled so-called “habitual drunkards” in the last decade. The majority of them live in the state’s largest city of Virginia Beach.

The law allows judges to apply the label to anyone convicted of driving under the influence or who has “shown himself to be a habitual drunkard.”

People who are considered “habitual drunkards” are no longer allowed to have alcohol and can be arrested if they’re caught with it. If convicted, they could be sent to jail for a year and be fined $2,500.

Virginia’s law is being challenged in federal court.


Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com