There are all sorts of laws out there that apply to alcohol, covering everything from its sale to its manufacture to its use. I've been asked recently to review those criminal laws which affect those who actually purchase and drink beer, wine, or ardent spirits in Virginia and after a quick review I came up with these.
The one everyone knows is what most people cal DUI, or driving under the influence. However, in Virginia the crime does not occur when a person drives a vehicle, it happens when a person "operates" one. Thus, if a person is behind the wheel, with the keys in the ignition, she is guilty. The statutes forbid a person under the influence of intoxicants to operate a motor vehicle, engine, train, or moped (18.2-266) and watercraft (29.1-738). Generally, operating a vehicle under the influence is punished by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine, with various amounts of incarceration being mandated depending on certain factors (ie: presence of a minor in the car or level of alcohol in the driver's system). If a person operates a vehicle under the influence three times in a ten year period, the third is felony with a maximum punishment of 5 years.
Where It Can be Consumed
It is generally illegal to drink in public (4.1-308) or be intoxicated in public (18.2-388) and doing either can result in a $250 fine. As well, if one gives alcohol to guests visiting his home, the alcohol must be consumed in the residence (4.1-200).
It is illegal for anyone under 21, interdicted, or intoxicated to buy, or be sold, alcohol (4.1-304). It's also illegal to buy alcohol for someone you know (or should know) is a minor. Obviously, it is illegal for a minor to drive with any alcohol in his system (18.2-266.1). It is also illegal for a school bus driver to drink or possess alcohol while driving the bus with kids on it (4.1-309.1).
Anyone who has been interdicted cannot be sold alcohol (4.1-304) and cannot possess it (4.1-322).
It is illegal for someone, while under the influence, to disrupt a funeral, government meeting, religious meeting, school, or school activity (18.2-415).
It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon while under the influence and it is illegal to drink alcohol at a place which serves it while carrying a concealed weapon (18.2-308).
It is illegal to be under the influence of alcohol while hunting (18.2-285).
If, within 6 weeks of birth, a doctor diagnoses harm to a child that was caused by prenatal use of alcohol he must report it (63.2-1509).
Yes, I know there are probably a dozen - if not dozens - of other laws out there which apply to the consumption of alcohol. However, these are the ones which popped out at me. If any others pop into your head feel free to add them in the comments below.