Appeals court hears challenge to ‘habitual drunkard’ law

The lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid Justice Center and a Washington law firm challenges Virginia's so-called interdiction law, which allows prosecutors to go to civil court to ask a judge to declare someone a habitual drunkard.

News Story (Virginia)

Denise Lavoie
Associated Press (AP)
January 30, 2019

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Justice Center (Virginia)


A Virginia law that allows police to arrest and jail people designated as “habitual drunkards” for up to a year if they’re caught with alcohol was scrutinized Wednesday by a federal appeals court as legal advocates argued that it unfairly targets homeless alcoholics.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being asked to allow a legal challenge to the law to proceed in federal court.

A federal judge and a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit have dismissed the lawsuit, but the appeals court agreed to hear arguments before the full court of 15 justices.