Riding while Intoxicated

Discussion in 'General GWL Questions' started by atlctyslkr, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. atlctyslkr

    atlctyslkr New Member

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    I got lectured pretty hard yesterday by some cops for posessing a firearm while intoxicated. I was not charged just warned. Here is the background:

    I go to a local bar with wife and friends. I have a GFL. I leave gun under seat while in bar. I drink too much to drive my car home and ask wife to drive us home. Cops are doing a license/registration check at the front of our neighborhood entrance and stop us. Cop was a real smartass and asked if we had been drinking. I said "just a little" and snikered. I'm sure the car smelled like a brewery but it is not a crime to turn your keys over to another responsible adult to take you home! Cop asks what we are doing and why I have been drinking and if we have any drugs or weopons. Wife blows below limit. I tell him I have a gun under the seat but I have a permit. He proceeds to lecture me about having a firearm in my possession while drinking. My wife also has a permit and she showed it to the officer and he let us go after that with the quote "that isn't a very safe thing to do!!!" Guess he didn't have any legal standing?

    What is the law on this? Do the cops have the right to hassle me if there is a firearm near me while drinking but I am not in immediate posession of it.

    I do not make a habit out of this behavior and it was totally out of character. I am usually the guy that has one beer and leaves the gathering.
     
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Not Illegal

    It's not illegal to possess a gun while you are intoxicated. That is, to simply possess it. If you start brandishing it in a way that makes other people reasonably concerned for their safety, then you may have violated up to several different laws, depending on how the cops and proscutors want to charge it.

    If you DISCHARGE the gun while you are under the influence of alcohol, that is a crime in Georgia. See O.C.G.A. 16-11-134. There are exceptions in this law for lawful defense of self and property.

    P.S. Just because it's under the seat of the car that your wife is driving, and you are riding in, doesn't mean that you don't possess it. You might still have "constructive possession" of it, even if you don't have actual possession. However, none of that should matter in Georgia because mere possession of a handgun by an intoxicated person is not a criminal offense.
     

  3. ls1ssdavid

    ls1ssdavid New Member

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    Gunsmoker- So let me get this straight. Someone who falls under the exemptions of concealed carry laws in GA can drink with a firearm on them while in a bar?

    That just doesn't sound right. I'm not trying to question your jugment or interpretation of the laws. But that means LEO's, Judges, Military persons, Etc. Can carry into a bar and get smashed while armed. Is there a possible gap in GA laws?
     
  4. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

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    Yes someone exempt under 16-11-130 (leo's, military) can carry into a bar and get hammered.

    A gap? I don't understand what you mean. The law is no discharging while intoxicated, for everybody. The differense is that non-exempt people would have to get hammered at some place other than establishments at which alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises. While an exempt person can.
     
  5. jmorin

    jmorin New Member

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    I agree. Don't reveal anything to an LEO unless you have to. And if an LEO does find out you have a gun or some other weapon in the car through questioning, repeatedly use the words "self-defense" or "protection". Yes, officer, I carry a handgun for self-defense.

    I was in a bad crash 1 year ago where an 18 wheeler hit me and my SUV rolled about 10 times on a state highway. All my windows blew out and everything flew out of my car, including a collapseable metal baton that I carry when walking my dog (my dog was attacked once by another dog - fortunately a good kick to the attacking dog's ribs sent him running).

    One of the officers (Gwinnett Co.) was picking up items around the car and saw my baton (fully extended). He picked it up and shouted at me, as I'm sitting off to the side of the road recovering, "Why do you have this?"

    I immediatlely shouted back, "For self-defense!" The cop frowned in disgust as if he was hoping I would say something that may have incriminated myself. He just turned and threw the baton back in my crushed SUV.
     
  6. EagleEye920

    EagleEye920 Member

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    In this case, he WAS asked. This has always been a question of mine. I'm not one to lie, and am not really that good at avoiding direct questions. I usually answer and then defend. But with a cop, I don't want to have to defend after being arrested or gun confiscated or any other inconvenience.
    So, what is one to do. Malum seems to like the "Am I free to go" phrase. :) Has anyone here ever said this? Do cops get irritated after that and try to pry more? If atlctyslkr would have said this in respone to the Drugs and Guns questions, would the guy have wanted to search the car and would he have some sort of probably cause or try to create it due to the intoxiation?

    My point is this, I would love to avoid answering that question, just wondering if anyone has ever actually done it and how did the cops respond? I like theories but experience is a lot higher in my book.
     
  7. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Of course they do!

    You overlooked what Malum Prohibitum does at roadblocks, though. More specofically, what he does not do. I do not speak to the officers. I do not answer questions, I do not look at the officers, I do not say "Hi."

    Half a dozen armed men manning roadblocks and stopping people with no probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed or even a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed . . .

    Half a dozen armed men manning roadblocks to "check your important papers" . . .

    It makes me think, momentarily, that I am in some third world country . . .

    I do the absolute minimum the law requires to avoid going to jail, which is to hand over my driver's license. I do not hand over or respond to requests for proof of insurance or questions about where I have been or where I am going or what I am doing or whether I have weapons in the car.

    At the same time, however, I have never been through a roadblock with the odor of an alcoholic beverage about my person.
     
  8. USMC - Retired

    USMC - Retired Active Member

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    I would have to ask what the difference is between being drunk as a passenger my car with a gun under the seat and being drunk at my house with a safe full of guns...
     
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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  10. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Not much.
     
  11. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Not that I condone being in a state of drunkenness, whether in public or even at home, but how is this different from you having a pistol in a holster within your own home after consuming four beers? This is legal. Is it a "possible gap in GA laws?"

    Don't be too quick to close all those perceived gaps.

    My principle, when analyzing what should be a criminal law, is to punish those who misuse firearms to threaten or harm another, not to pass laws that would constitute a prior restraint based upon the fear of some harm that may flow from certain conduct.

    I believe the Second Amendment must be construed by the courts like the First Amendment's speech protections - strict scrutiny, no prior restraint, &c. While you might be punished for what you say while intoxicated (if it constituted a crime, such as a threat, or a civil tort, such as slander), there are no laws that forbid one to speak while intoxicated for fear that a threat or slander is likely to be forthcoming.
     
  12. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    Thanks to many SCOTUS opinions on the subject, you have have a much lower expectation of privacy in a car than you do in your house. From a practical standpoint, you can't really avoid an encounter with the police as a car passenger when the car has been stopped (you don't have to talk, but they are there in your face). On the other hand, it is a lot easier not to answer the door or to close the door to your house in their faces when you are at home. You can order them off your property (assuming they have no warrant and their are not "exigent circumstances").
     
  13. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    These are Fourth Amendment issues. I believe he is speaking to the propriety of having such laws at all in either circumstance.

    Of course, if a law is passed regarding intoxication and the carrying of firearms, be prepared for a huge administrative issue to follow. Requirements to submit to blood, urine, or breath tests or lose the "privilege" of a firearms license, among other things.

    "Roadblocks" or "sidewalk blocks" to detect drunken carriers of firearms.

    Be careful what you wish for . . .

    The Fourth Amendment issues will follow such a law . . .

    Police get called for one reason or another, smell alcohol or notice an empty beer bottle, and observe that you are carrying a gun. Result? No warrant needed when the police have a legal right to be there and observe a crime in plain view.
     
  14. ls1ssdavid

    ls1ssdavid New Member

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    I don't mean to bring up a possible gap to have it filled. I just wanted to show how crazy GA laws are written. But the issue that comes to mind is that... They have laws inplace that seem the purpose is to prevent drinking with a firearm ie: Restarant Carry. But, a person exempt can drink all he wants with a gun in public. Last time I checked, when I drink alcohol, I get drunk just like the next person. :wink: Believe me, I love my rights and would not want more road blocks or even sidewalk blocks. I can't stand having my right to carry not even exist, such as the state I temporarily lay my head.
     
  15. ls1ssdavid

    ls1ssdavid New Member

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    MP- A few of my buddy's that used to be stationed with me got pulled over by some Law Enforcment up here in Maryland. They asked where he was coming from. His response was "down the road". The next question that came was where are you going? My buddys response was "up the road". They were told they were pulled over because there vehicle looked suspicious. When they told me the next morning I was rolling on the round laughing so hard. Picture it in your head about four Marines with raging high and tights driving down the road. Yea i'm sure they looked like gang bangers or thugs. Anyways it seems his feelings towards police questioning is the same.