Virginia

Virginia Labels People ‘Habitual Drunkards’ Under Old Law

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

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.

In Northern Virginia, two areas outpaced others for labeling people "habitual drunkards" since 2007. The city of Fredericksburg had 13 and Loudoun County had 14.

Arlington and Alexandria each had none.

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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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