Fredericksburg Sliding Down a Slippery Alcohol Slope

A recent Free Lance-Star article caught my eye due to a dangerous precedent the city of Fredericksburg may be setting (thanks to my wife for pointing it out!). According to the article, the Fredericksburg Police Department is seeking to “interdict” city residents who frequently get DUIs or are drunk in public.

What does that mean?

Good question. The article says:

People can be interdicted if they have been convicted locally of at least three offenses of driving under the influence of alcohol. They can also be interdicted if they have more than six local alcohol-related arrests–including at least four for public intoxication–within the previous 18 months.

Ok, so we’re allegedly dealing with repeat alcohol issues.

The police send the names of the suspect individuals to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who then files a civil petition in the Circuit Court to get an order of interdiction.

The interdiction makes it a class 1 misdemeanor for the person to even possess alcohol. And any establishment that sells alcohol to the interdicted person is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor as well.

I had honestly never heard of this process before, so I did some research. What I found is a bit frightening.

The law

The Code of Virginia, section 4.1-333, says that the Circuit Court can enter an interdiction order on any resident after notice has been given, IF the Court finds one of two things:

1. The person “has been convicted of driving any automobile, truck, motorcycle, engine or train while intoxicated”, or

2. The person “has shown himself to be an habitual drunkard”.

The Code (4.1-322) does prohibit that person from even possessing an alcoholic beverage or from being intoxicated in public. If the person violates 322, they could be sentenced up to 12 months in prison and/or given a $2500 fine.

And the Code (4.1-324) also criminalizes selling alcoholic beverages to anyone to whom that sale is prohibited.

Why I’m concerned

Some people might accuse me of being Chicken Little. After all, according to the newspaper, only 8 individuals are up for interdiction right now. And they’ve all supposedly had multiple alcohol-related violations.

There are two problems here. One is a fundamental issue: we’re classifying American citizens. Instead of simply punishing specific acts at the time they are committed, we’re branding people who have committed certain types of offenses. We’re creating a class of alcohol-offenders.

Doesn’t the stigma of DUI and alcohol-related offense brand them enough already? Do we need to have a legal process that official puts a giant “A” on their chest?

The second problem is the dangerous destination for the road we’re heading down. The newspaper says that only multiple repeat offenders who have committed local offenses are the concern right now.

But under the law, a single DUI conviction could trigger interdiction. And that conviction doesn’t even have to be local. Furthermore, just being a “habitual drunkard” is enough to get interdicted. The law doesn’t require ANY criminal convictions to be branded with an “A”.

Even scarier, once interdicted, possessing alcohol in a person’s home is a criminal offense. Again, the police claim that they aren’t worried about those kinds of violations. And they may not be right now. But when will they become concerned about them?

Today, we’re classifying repeated local offenders as Alcoholics. Tomorrow, any Fredericksburg resident who gets convicted of DUI anywhere gets that brand, and the police arrest you for having alcohol in the privacy of your own home.

No, thank you. I don’t know about you, but I would rather stay an American.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t know much about interdiction. If you know better and I’m missing something, please drop a comment below or contact me.

Photo by Laura May

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

What's Next?

Get Free Answers

Andrew wrote the book on DWI. It’s jam-packed full of answers for your case.

Get Your Free Copy

Andrew wrote the book on reckless driving. It’s the most-reviewed Virginia reckless driving resource on

Get Your Free Copy

Our special report about driving on suspended explains six critical issues to possibly fight in your case.

Get Your Free Copy


We provide free consultations for cases in our area. If we can't help, we'll do our best to connect you with someone who can.


Contact Andrew & Fitz