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Overview of Federal Laws About Intoxication

The term “intoxication”, in its legal interpretation in the US, refers to the condition of a person wherein he/she is loses the ability to function as a reasonable, cautious and prudent person due to the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.

Voluntary Intoxication by drugs is a federal crime. Irrespective of being intoxicated, making others consume drugs without their knowledge or consent may constitute a federal crime, especially in the case of minors. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 enumerates a comprehensive list of drugs including cocaine, heroin, LSD, meth, ecstasy, anabolic steroids, marijuana, Xanax, testosterone, cough suppressants etc, permitting their possession, consumption and/or sale in negligibly small quantities or strict medical supervision.

Intoxication Arrest Records
Intoxication Arrest Records

It is advised to completely keep away from the drugs listed in the aforesaid act because:

  1. The prescribed quantity of the said drugs is extremely small and their discovery poses an undeniable risk of criminal prosecution of those involved.
  2. The regulations for medical supervision are extremely inflexible and strict, even for products such as cough suppressants. It is pertinent to also note that although Marijuana has been legalized by many States for medical and/or non-medical consumption, but it remains on the list of Control Substances of the aforesaid act and the possession or use or commerce of Marijuana may still constitute a federal offense.

Since drugs can be presumed to be prohibited by Federal Law, intoxication is usually associated with Alcohol. Voluntary intoxication by alcohol is not a crime, consequent to the implementation of 21st Amendment of the Constitution in 1933 which brought about an end to the 14 year prohibition era and the nationwide ban on alcohol. The said amendment governs all federal policies towards the purchase, possession, consumption and sale of alcohol.

For the purpose of this article, it is best to focus on laws pertinent to consumption of alcohol and not on possession or distribution of it. Presently, federal laws specify criminal as well as civil offenses that are a direct result of intoxication by alcohol for e.g. Being drunk is not a crime but Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under Influence (DUI) is a crime.

The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984 prescribes the minimum legal age for consumption of alcohol 21 years. Most States prescribe the same age restriction, while some permit adults over the age of 18 years and under the age of 21 years to consume alcohol in the presence of a parent, guardian or notified person responsible for preventing offensive acts by the said adult upon intoxication. Federal Laws as well as all States prohibit consumption of alcohol by minors i.e. individuals who are not yet legally 18 years of age and consider distributing alcohol to minors as a serious criminal offense.

Furthermore, federal statutes clarify upon the following:

  1. Any beverage is deemed to be alcoholic in nature, if it contains at least .05% alcohol by volume.
  2. The national permissible limit of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is notified as .08 i.e. 8 parts alcohol per 10,000 parts of blood. Alcohol consumption that results in BAC reading in excess of the prescribed BAC makes the individual liable to criminal prosecution for doing any activity that endangers life and property after alcohol consumption, the most common example being DWI, DUI or being drunk on the job. BAC evaluation may involve analysis of breath, urine or blood and different states have different procedures, methods and criteria for evaluation of BAC
  3. Although federal law does not prohibit pregnant women from consuming alcohol, various Federal Organisations including the Centre for Disease Control, advise pregnant women to avoid alcohol. 18 States of the US strictly prohibit consumption of alcohol by pregnant women.

Latest Intoxication Arrests

  • Charge Id: 72594 Caseno: 063082 Crimetype: Counts: 1 Modifier: N\a Control Number: Warrantnumber: Arrest Code: 39-17-310 Charge Descripti...

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