Habitual Drunkard VA Statute is Unconstitutional
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Habitual drunkard law is no good in Virginia, says Fairfax DUI lawyer
Habitual drunkard laws are found in the Virginia Code and in federal immigration law. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I am delighted that a deeply divided United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit this week invalidated Virginia’s habitual drunkard law as unconstitutional. Manning, et al. v. Caldwell, et al., ___ F.3d ___ (4th Cir., July 16, 2019).
Fairfax criminal lawyer on the invalidated habitual drunkard law
The Virginia Code permits a Circuit Court judge to enter an order of interdiction prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages to a habitual drunkard and a person convicted of driving while intoxicated. Va. Code § 4.1-333. Under the Virginia Code, any such interdicted person commits a Class 1 misdemeanor by being in possession of alcohol or being intoxicated in public. Va. Code § 4.1-322. Therefore, the statute targets both people convicted of DUI and those deemed to be such drunkards, whether or not they have yet been convicted of anything.
Fairfax DUI attorney on the Fourth Circuit’s invalidation of Virginia’s drunkard law
As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I read with great interest that Manning invalidates Virginia’s habitual drunkard law as to being void for vagueness as applied to the “habitual drunkard” part of the statutory scheme, and as likely a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, where the United States Supreme Court for the most part has limited Eighth Amendment relief to the sphere of the death penalty and life sentencing for juveniles.
Fairfax criminal lawyer on the drunkard provision of immigration law
As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I remain mindful that the federal immigration law determines that a “habitual drunkard” is not a person of good moral character. 8 U.S. Code § 1101(f)(1). That provision of the federal immigration law seems to remain intact. Thankfully, Manning’s invalidation of the Virginia “habitual drunkard” provision will end such drunkard determinations by courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, thus depriving immigration authorities from relying on any Virginia court drunkard findings to determine that an immigrant is not of good moral character.
Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against DUI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation, which ordinarily is free up to thirty minutes.