Lots of potentially angry Brah’s:
The Virginia ABC informed us yesterday that, as it interprets Virginia law, the consumption of alcoholic beverages by passengers is prohibited in any privately chartered vehicle other than charter boats. Needless to say, this came as quite a surprise to us, as the practice is commonplace in limousines and aboard chartered buses taking passengers to sporting events or on farm winery tours. Apparently, the ABC now considers all of these activates to be illegal.
This is shocking? I think the reason why it’s “legal” in limos is because they have tinted windows. These people are completely exposed to the outside world.
Now what does the ABC think about squirrels eating alcoholic mulberries? When I used to live near Clarendon we had mulberry trees, and they would drop, and then ferment, and it smelled like a distillery and we had lots of drunk animals as a result.
Boo! What a bunch of lame-o’s. I hope they fix the laws, preferably by the time the VA Wine Fest occurs on June 1. Heh.
How big is the ABC on enforcement? I see tons of places advertising happy hour deals visable from outside, and that violates the rules and the signs have been up forever.
Do you mean prices? I believe they can advertise a happy hour, but just not list prices.
As I stated in comments to an earlier article
As I stated in comments to an earlier article
They are still being treated the same. It’s just now the VA ABC thinks drinking in limos and party buses is illegal too.
See the bottom of the page. Also the following link. Both pretty much say that limos and hired drivers are permitted to serve alcohol:
§ 18.2-323.1. Drinking while operating a motor vehicle; possession of open container while operating a motor vehicle and presumption; penalty.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to consume an alcoholic beverage while driving a motor vehicle upon a public highway of this Commonwealth.
B. A rebuttable presumption that the driver has consumed an alcoholic beverage in violation of this section shall be created if (i) an open container is located within the passenger area of the motor vehicle, (ii) the alcoholic beverage in the open container has been at least partially removed and (iii) the appearance, conduct, odor of alcohol, speech or other physical characteristic of the driver of the motor vehicle may be reasonably associated with the consumption of an alcoholic beverage.
For the purposes of this section:
“Open container” means any vessel containing an alcoholic beverage, except the originally sealed manufacturer’s container.
“Passenger area” means the area designed to seat the driver of any motor vehicle, any area within the reach of the driver, including an unlocked glove compartment, and the area designed to seat passengers. This term shall not include the trunk of any passenger vehicle, the area behind the last upright seat of a passenger van, station wagon, hatchback, sport utility vehicle or any similar vehicle, the living quarters of a motor home, or the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxi, or limousine, while engaged in the transportation of such persons.
C. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor.
(1989, c. 343; 2002, c. 890.)
Looks like the law being cited by ABC is this one:
Which seems to be about drinking in public. I guess it’s up to the Trolley to prove they are not drinking in public by being on the vehicle.
Yep, that looks to be their rationale, however just because it’s an open air vehicle, its still a private, for hire vehicle. Under their current belief, drinking in a private limo with the windows open would make it public consumption too. Not a lawyer, but it seems like they’re misinterpreting the Code.
Now, if the passenger steps off the trolley with his beer, that’s another story…
“Not a lawyer, but it seems like they're misinterpreting the Code.“
That’s our position. At the very least, they don’t seem to have interpreted it that way for the past couple decades. According to their interpretation, you don’t even need to have the limos windows down to make it considered public consumption. Its enough to be on a public street.
You can split hairs and everything, but I’ve been in VA since the mid-1980′s and there is a long history for the VA ABC position that drinking in public does not positively contribute to the overall public environment. And this interpretation is consistent with this.
You should ask ABC under what offense would you be charged. If your trolley is classified as a vehicle for hire, then you’re likely safe. § 18.2-323.1 is the offense they would charge you under, and its clear you’re okay there. Was it the COO of the ABC saying this? Not any legal counsel of theirs? Do you need some kind of ABC license to operate? If not, perhaps they really have no jurisdiction over your operation?
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