We're counting down to 01 July 2010 when the new laws go into affect in Virginia. I've looked through them and most are just slight adjustments to the old laws. However, there's one which I think there'll be a lot of people violating. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the law which requires you not to let your guests drink unless they are in your house:
7. Any person who keeps and possesses lawfully acquired alcoholic beverages in his residence for his personal use or that of his family. However, such alcoholic beverages may be served or given to guests in such residence by such person, his family or servants when (i) such guests are 21 years of age or older or are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is 21 years of age or olderThe bold part is what the General Assembly added, and YES that means that you cannot invite your buddies over and let them drink your beer outside as you barbecue and that your girlfriend cannot drink that glass of wine with you while you look at the stars on the back porch.
and, (ii) the consumption or possession of such alcoholic beverages by family members or such guests occurs only in such residence where the alcoholic beverages are allowed to be served or given pursuant to this subdivision, and (iii) such service or gift is in no way a shift or device to evade the provisions of this title.
In fairness, I think they were probably trying to make it illegal for minors to drink outside the house, but that law is just a little too overly broad.
Wow. This should be interesting.....
Is there another section of code that defines residence as only the structure and not the land?
When the General Assembly means the residence and land it uses the language "and curtilage thereof."
I can’t believe this statute gives adequate notice of what is permitted and what is prohibited and I don’t think you’ll enjoy trying to convict someone of drinking a beer on their porch. Most people have never heard the word “curtilage” and would spew their beer in your face if they did.
That statute is very clear and "adequate notice" is pretty much fulfilled by the publication of the statute by the General Assembly. Would I enjoy trying to convict them? It's an easy conviction so I don't see getting any enjoyment or pain from the prosecution. As for the fact that people don't understand the meaning of "curtilage", if that's my worst problem in court I'll be a happy man. People don't know the difference between robberies, burglaries, and larcenies (they use the terms interchangeably) so, if I can still go forward on those cases, I'm pretty sure curtilage will sail through court. And if they spit beer on me, evil prosecutor that I am, I can add an assault and battery charge as well.
It's not so much about getting a conviction in my mind as it is about giving you a hard time.
How is this not a violation of our constitutional rights? Where does the law get the right to say they can limit our right of consumption of a legally owned beverage on our own land? Next thing you know they will be putting curfews on us as well, oh wait. The state of Virginia has taken it upon themselves to violate that right as well(for minors). Wouldn't this get overturned?
Also, am I reading this correctly? If I'm 20 years old, and my wife is 21, she may purchase alcohol, and serve it to me in my own home legally?
AS I read the statute that is correct.
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