Virginia Labels People 'Habitual Drunkards' Under Old Law - NBC4 Washington

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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

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    Virginia Labels People 'Habitual Drunkards' Under Old Law
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    A Russian River Brewing Company customer takes a sip of the newly released Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer on February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California. Hundreds of people lined up hours before the opening of Russian River Brewing Co. to taste the 10th annual release of the wildly popular Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer that will only be available on tap from February 7th through February 20th. Craft beer aficionados rank Pliny the Younger as one of the top beers in the world. The craft beer sector of the beverage industry has grown from being a niche market into a fast growing 12 billion dollar business, as global breweries continue to purchase smaller regional craft breweries such this week's purchase of New York's Blue Point Brewing by AB Inbev. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    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.

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    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.

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