RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court is set to reconsider a challenge to a Virginia law that allows police to arrest people designated as “habitual drunkards” if they are caught with alcohol.
In August, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court judge who dismissed a lawsuit challenging the law.
The full appeals court later agreed to hear the case. Arguments are scheduled Wednesday.
The law makes it a crime for habitual drunkards to possess, consume or purchase alcohol.
The Legal Aid Justice Center argues that the law criminalizes addiction and punishes homeless alcoholics who have nowhere else to drink but in public.
The Virginia Attorney General’s Office says the state has a legitimate interest in discouraging alcohol and drug abuse.
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