Drunks have no rights....right?


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bear71
June 29, 2009, 10:41 AM
The details -

Wedding party after party at the hotel. Most of the participants have been drinking (oh the shame...drinking at a wedding!)

About four thirty something females and four thirty something males. 19 year old daughter of the eldest member also in attendance. No drinking for the under-ager.

Another three (3) wedding parties in atendance at the hotel, one of which is getting really boisterous in the parking lot.

Boisterous group of seven wedding partiers from the parking lot (with cumulativre IQ of 400) searches hotel and finds our room, I suspect due to some noise of our own.

One of our attendees erroneously opens our hotel door and lets in these knuckle draggers. No need for the intelligent posters here to point out this mistake. I know. That being said, mistakes happen and situations develop.

After some pleasantries, the knuckle draggers are asked to leave the private party. It seems they were there to make war, not love. 35+ year old female knuckle dragger begins to rail on our 19 year female attendee attempting to coax a fight. They are asked to leave again, repeatedly. Security at the hotel is a 63 year old 120 pound front desk lady. That's it.

With some minor pushing, we were able to remove the boisterous neanderthals from the room without serious incident. They left dissappointed that things had not come to physicality. They wanted a fight.

The situation was diffused.

What if things hadn't been diffused. What if out 19 year old was attacked by the woman? A mele could easily have ensued.

I was not armed that night, having left my carry piece at home knowing that I would be drinking.

Do wedding party attendees that have been drinking and are comfortably enjoying each others peaceful company have the right to defend themselves from serious bodily injury with firearms from a group of marauders that have infiltrated the confines bent on causing serious bodily injury?

Thoughts?

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TexasRifleman
June 29, 2009, 10:46 AM
Do wedding party attendees that have been drinking and are comfortably enjoying each others peaceful company have the right to defend themselves from serious bodily injury with firearms from a group of marauders that have infiltrated the confines bent on causing serious bodily injury?

From a legal standpoint I would argue that you don't give up your rights to self defense simply because you have been drinking.

However, when you have invited the participants in you put yourself in a very different place than if they come in uninvited.

You host a party for a bunch of drunks you have to be prepared for the fallout. "Infiltrated the confines" isn't what happened here it sounds like.

You want to brush past the fact that someone in your group let them in but I'd argue that it's tied in with any claims of self defense that come up later.

You might still be legally defending yourself, but inviting them in puts you on shakier ground no question.

The question would be one of judgement. If you argue that your self defense was lawful, you are arguing your judgment was sound. But, if your judgement was sound you wouldn't have invited a bunch of drunks into the room.

Catch-22

bear71
June 29, 2009, 10:53 AM
"From a legal standpoint I would argue that you don't give up your rights to self defense simply because you have been drinking."

Agreed.

"However, when you have invited the participants in you put yourself in a very different place than if they come in uninvited."

Agreed, huge mistake.

"You host a party for a bunch of drunks you have to be prepared for the fallout."

Yep, the legal system would view our group as the "host".

"You might still be legally defending yourself, but inviting them in puts you on shakier ground no question."

Yep. Things were diffused, but by one of our party opening the door we opened ourselves up to a very bad situation. Everyone in our party was pretty much in condition pink or paisley or whatever, hey it was a wedding! Just goes to show that this type of situation (a wedding party) requires a far more estute condition.

I'll be carrying and not drinking at any future weddings I attend.

TexasRifleman
June 29, 2009, 10:58 AM
I'll be carrying and not drinking at any future weddings I attend.

That's sort of where I've wound up over the years. Not just for the gun reasons but for many, driving etc.

I'm to the point now where I just don't drink anything if I am not inside my own house.

Seems to me to be the smart move. Too many ways to get into problems otherwise.

jfdavis58
June 29, 2009, 11:20 AM
Philosophically I'm with TexasRifleman, I drink only at home and guests are few.

But I don't think you are on shaky ground just because you drink and invite other 'drinkers' into your environment. Invitations are what they are, an agreement to join UNDER SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. Here is was a good time, more drinks and friendship. Anything beyond that must be negotiated between all parties (no pun). Once the central theme shifted to figting or other violent contact you are within your rights to 'invite' certain parties to leave. I can even envision situations where you might act in legitimate self-defense---including deadly force. This wouldn't be so hard to see if drinking carried fewer social stigma and so many negative connotation. I'm sure most anyone here could see similarities and draw analogous situations to many life events not involving alcohol.

TexasRifleman
June 29, 2009, 11:32 AM
Once the central theme shifted to figting or other violent contact you are within your rights to 'invite' certain parties to leave.


I agree completely, but when some DA starts questioning your judgment call of using deadly force you can bet the drinking and invitation to strangers is gonna be first on his list.

Zoogster
June 29, 2009, 12:29 PM
I have often had control of a firearm after drinking, and never used it inappropriately. I don't make decisions drunk I would not have sober. I once had a temper sober, and so had a temper drunk. I no longer have much of a temper sober nor intoxicated. I wouldn't end up taking someone home intoxicated I wouldn't have sober. Or any of the other things you commonly hear people doing differently when intoxicated. I am simply not that much different.
For some reason my decision making process is hardly changed at all from drinking, even if I was to drink a lot. Only coordination and reaction time are impaired. For that reason for a long time I viewed the "I was drunk when I did ___" excuse as pathetic. I still view the "I blacked out" while conscious excuse the same way because I have never in my life had that experience even when I was new to drinking and stupid and drank to near poison levels. I have been spinning, vomiting or otherwise miserable (a state I now responsibly avoid) but never lost control of my actions. Anything I did I chose to do.
It still seems like just a convenient way to dismiss responsibility for one's actions. Many men and women still blame intoxication for thier mistakes though.

Yet I have learned many actualy are not as I am. Even some family are very different when they drink. The decision making process of some people I know who are normaly decent is significantly impaired after several drinks. They say things they wouldn't have, are quicker to outbursts and otherwise make different decisions. Other people are quicker to physical altercations. Maybe thier inhibitions are normaly only surface deep and drinking brings that out?

I don't drink too often, but witnessing disputes of others, and enough LEO or court cases in person or on TV I know credibility goes down when drinking is involved.
If LEO respond to an incident and people are drunk they cease to give the benefit of the doubt. Even someone that can intelligently articulate thier story is viewed with suspicion if they are intoxicated. An assumption of guilt if anyone intoxicated is even accused is common. In civil or criminal court someone having been intoxicated around the time of an alleged event weighs heavily.
So both LEO and the courts act differently simply because someone has had something to drink.
It really would seem that being intoxicated removes many rights. Especialy the right to be presumed innocent.
For that reason alone not drinking away from home can be a smart decision. For that same reason I avoid bars, clubs, and similar places where people drink socialy with people they do not know. Where problems can arise and your word might need to mean something afterwards.

I would like to be armed while enjoying a drink, but I know people I wouldn't trust with a heavy object, nevermind a firearm after a couple drinks. So it is a strange call since drinking seems to effect different people in very different ways.
Anyone who is more inclined to use a firearm defensively (or offensively) when intoxicated especialy if inclined to bravado should certainly not carry. A few seconds of the wrong decision can change lives forever.
At the same time those same places where young males in groups frequent like bars and clubs, large parties or gatherings, are probably the most dangerous places in most cities. The more young men you put together the greater the propensity for stupid behavior.
Where you have a higher chance of needing to defend yourself than anywhere else. Where people are both more inclined to immediate violence, or to leave and come back with weapons, or lie in wait to victimize you.
Avoiding, de-escalating, and leaving bad situations is always better than actualy needing to defend yourself or someone else when possible, and it ususaly is.
You managed to do that, which still would have been the best outcome if you were armed.

Phatty
June 29, 2009, 12:41 PM
As a drunk person, you will simply be held to the same standard as a sober person. So, if you shoot somebody in self-defense while drunk, whether that shooting is justified will be evaluated based on an objective standard -- i.e., would a sober person in your shoes been justified to shoot.

There could be other laws you violate though by using/possessing a firearm while drunk. So, you may not be charged with murder, but you could possibly still get stuck with unlawful use of a weapon, for example.

Zoogster
June 29, 2009, 01:00 PM
As a drunk person, you will simply be held to the same standard as a sober person.

Legaly in theory yes Phatty, in reality no. Being intoxicated will be a factor mentioned by witnesses, by your own recollection if you testify, and by LEO in court. It will be implied by the prosecution to have been a major contributor in clouding your judgement. Implying the shooting was even more likely to have been the result of poor judgement.

People not present, and people who do not know how you are when intoxicated then will be asked to decide your fate after having it drilled into them in court that you were drunk and it clouded your judgement.
Most public self-defense shootings are not like TV shows and movies. Unless it is a robbery of a business stories are ususaly conflicting. That means the police reports will include incorrect "facts" and what comes to be viewed as true in court subject to the jury.
If the person that ended up shot has friends or family present stories are certain to be conflicting. The people that act the worst often have large numbers of friends with them, which is a big part of them acting even more foolish in front of peers. All those people are witnesses that will be heavily biased against you in thier recollection of events.

That means it often becomes other factors that heavily influence a decision. Your character. Your past. Were you intoxicated? Was the action done by someone with a stable character and judgement or was your judement less than it should have been?
If members of the jury know people that act extra foolish drunk they may picture such people when the prosecution is drilling it into them you were drunk and as a result made a poor decision.

Innocent people are found guilty. Cases are decided on credibility. Both civil and criminal.

Frog48
June 29, 2009, 01:05 PM
I think the distinction between "drinking" and "drunk" would make a big difference. If you were simply having a beer or two socially, thats alot different than finishing a twelve-pack.

bear71
June 29, 2009, 01:08 PM
"I think the distinction between "drinking" and "drunk" would make a big difference. If you were simply having a beer or two socially, thats alot different than finishing a twelve-pack."

.08 in my state. That's what? Three beers....

If you are over .08, able to do cartwheels, scale large buildings and write a Nobel worthy novel all at the same time...you are still considered "drunk" by the state.

TexasRifleman
June 29, 2009, 01:09 PM
As a drunk person, you will simply be held to the same standard as a sober person.

Zoogster makes a good point.

The statement is technically correct but in the end you will be held to whatever standard a jury wants you to be held to.

And, if they think the drinking played a part, you're toast.

MT GUNNY
June 29, 2009, 01:10 PM
Quote; As a drunk person, you will simply be held to the same standard as a sober person. So, if you shoot somebody in self-defense while drunk, whether that shooting is justified will be evaluated based on an objective standard -- i.e., would a sober person in your shoes been justified to shoot.

I agree with that statement. The next Question would be, Was the Person Carrying while drinking, which is Illegal in Most states. So Hopefully the firearm was stored in a suit case or something not defined as CC or OC.

Frog48
June 29, 2009, 01:35 PM
.08 in my state. That's what? Three beers....

If you are over .08, able to do cartwheels, scale large buildings and write a Nobel worthy novel all at the same time...you are still considered "drunk" by the state.

Exactly my point. Thats why I said "a beer or two", not three. On average, the body can metabolize 1-2 drinks an hour (a "drink" is usually considered a 12 ounce beer, 1.5 ounce of 80 proof liquor, or 4 ounce glass of wine). More than that, and you risk becoming legally intoxicated.

The next Question would be, Was the Person Carrying while drinking, which is Illegal in Most states.

Like you said, it depends on the state. For example, in Texas you can carry while drinking, as long as you are not legally intoxicated (>0.08 BAC). It may or may not be a good idea, but it is legal.

SHvar
June 29, 2009, 01:48 PM
Unfortunately when someone is drinking they erroneously think that they do or say things they wouldnt when sober, but the truth is that when someone is a jerk when drunk, or stupid, this shows the true person inside, alcohol is not an excuse, its a great truth serum.
When someone says they would have chewed their arm off after waking up next to someone they went home drunk with, to get away undetected guess what, they would have taken that person home and done the same thing sober.
Unfortunately alcohol clouds thinking, reactions, vision, hearing, and suppresses inhibitions, so the user gives in to rowdy, boisterous, clumsey, obnoxious behavior alot easier, and sooner than normal, suppresses the abilitiy to judge situations, and to judge when to take action.
Knowing this, when people consume alcohol the situation is more volatile, could be misjudged, and overreacted.
Unfortunately you have to treat impairment as that.
Regardless if its use of firearms, or driving, impaired is impaired, someone who is not drinking should be the adult and be responsible for those who are drinking.

bear71
June 29, 2009, 02:02 PM
"Exactly my point."

Thanks, Grant.

In my opinion, .08 is certainly impaired by definition but hardly "drunk". Sound like you agree.

Shadow 7D
June 29, 2009, 02:56 PM
I think that you can reasonably expect to be tested for blood alcohol, if your smart, don't refuse, make them take you the hospital and do a blood draw, more accurate, if your wasted lawyer up.

If you state has the usual conditions for CC of not while impaired (the legal definition depends by state) expect that to be a sensitive point. You could secure the firearm off you body in a safe place before you start drinking.

mljdeckard
June 29, 2009, 03:08 PM
Something that ALWAYS happens in military justice, when you were drunk, the presumption of innocence flies out the window. It comes back to whose story was more convincing.

Someone in your party opened the door and let them in. Drunk, sober, doesn't matter. Now you have to prove who started what with who.

I'm not going to be so preachy as to tell you it's a bad idea to drink at all, but understand that from a security standpoint, you might be very careful about who you drink WITH.

bear71
June 29, 2009, 04:27 PM
"Something that ALWAYS happens in military justice, when you were drunk, the presumption of innocence flies out the window. It comes back to whose story was more convincing."

Good point, mlj.

The military roles have to be jam packed with all kinds of altercations that happen during intoxication.

Drunk or not, it appears that someonme would atleast have their day in court and not be immediately condemned for having been intoxicated while posed with a life threatening situation.

BlayGlock
June 29, 2009, 05:30 PM
In Texas, if you have been drinking at all, you are not allowed to be allowed to carry your weapon. I cant comment on the laws in other states.

Gamera
June 30, 2009, 12:06 AM
According to SECTION 23-31-400 of SC law,

(B) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to use a firearm in this State.

Now this is interesting because,

(A) (1) “Use a firearm” means to discharge a firearm.

Which means you can, in fact, carry while drunk (assuming you have a CWP, of course). Oh but wait!

(D) This article does not apply to persons lawfully defending themselves or their property.

I don't have to worry about this stuff though, I don't drink.

TexasRifleman
June 30, 2009, 12:16 AM
In Texas, if you have been drinking at all, you are not allowed to be allowed to carry your weapon.

Not exactly. Texas Penal Code 46.035:



(d) A license holder commits an offense if, while intoxicated, the license holder carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed.



Penal Code Chapter 49 then goes on to say:

(2) "Intoxicated" means:
(A) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or
(B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.


So, just the drinking alone isn't a disqualifier but since the definition is pretty fuzzy it's a dangerous path no question.

Zoogster
June 30, 2009, 01:30 AM
Penal Code Chapter 49 then goes on to say:


Quote:
(2) "Intoxicated" means:
(A) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or
(B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

Actualy that sounds similar to some DUI laws.
And yes (A) does mean any alcohol at all is an offense left to the discretion of those determining if it leaves you not having "normal use of mental or physical facilities". .08 or more is just a certainty outside of thier discretion.

Similarly in California state law there is two seperate offenses for DUI. There is both being intoxicated and being over .08 You can be guilty of being intoxicated with alcohol and recieve a DUI even if you are only .02 which is something many do not understand.
From over 0 to just under .08 is at the discretion of the officers and the prosecutor whether it is a DUI or not, while over .08 is a seperate offense and is definately a DUI.
So if pulled over and an officer asks if someone had anything to drink, and they respond "yes 1 beer an hour ago" believing they are not violating the law, and they have a blood alcohol much lower than .08 they can still be given field sobriety tests and then given a DUI at the discretion of the officer if the officer feels they are intoxicated. So they are intoxicated if they fail the test, and passing or failing the test is primarily discretionary, with some of them hard to pass sober. If they then get a breathe test or a blood test that shows they have any alcohol at all it corroborates the officer's opinion about failing any test, that they indeed are intoxicated as a result of alcohol regardless of the level of alcohol in thier system.
They ususaly will issue a DUI even below .08 because DUIs are a major source of revenue for most jurisdictions.
(I have never had a DUI I just know the process.)

So the way that Texas law is worded, any alcohol at all can be discretionarily determined to be a violation of (A) while over .08 would be a violation of (B).
You would not need to be over .08 to be considered intoxicated under (A) just determined to be "not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol". Something entirely subjective.


Thought I would clear that up. I see people cite the .08 all the time, completely clueless about the exact laws. But it is understandable, they even give out those charts that show how many drinks per hour would be over .08 BAC from the DMV. If you read the fine print though you will notice even below .08 says "possible DUI" "probable DUI" and "definate DUI". It is not because they are possibly, probably or definately over .08 it is because they may or may not be determined intoxicated under .08, but they are definately illegaly intoxicated if over .08 .02 BAC is a "possible DUI" if the officer decides you are intoxicated. So any alcohol at all is a DUI, especialy if its a jurisidiction hurting on funds regardless of BAC.

t165
June 30, 2009, 06:29 AM
To sum up what Zoogster is trying to explain. Blood alcohol content (bac) measurers the percentage of alcohol in a persons bloodstream. A breathalizer only measures alcohol. A urine, blood or other type test will measure other intoxicants which can cause impairment. Intoxication generally means the level of physical impairment suffered due to the digestion of an outside source. Not just alcohol but anything which would impair a humans motor functions or senses. I hope I got that right!

TexasRifleman
June 30, 2009, 08:24 AM
So the way that Texas law is worded, any alcohol at all can be discretionarily determined to be a violation of (A) while over .08 would be a violation of (B).
You would not need to be over .08 to be considered intoxicated under (A) just determined to be "not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol". Something entirely subjective.

Yeah, that's my point. From the statutory point of view the law does NOT prohibit carrying with any drinking at all, but you're at the mercy of LE judgement.

It's a roll of the dice but not directly prohibited.

SHvar
June 30, 2009, 11:36 AM
Exactly, you can be legally impaired in any state without being over .08, that is but one guideline. You can be swerving, stumbling, slurring speech, or any indicator of being impaired, .08 means nothing for DUI.
So, this also stands to reason that in court your behavior, boisterous, stumbling, slurring, etc can be held against your favor in a case of self defense.
It would go something like "so you were consuming alcohol, the amount does not matter, the fact is your judgement was impaired, therefore you cannot judge properly what actions were justifiable."
Aside from not enjoying drinking much at all anymore, I just dont think its worth it when in places outside your home.

HKUSP45C
June 30, 2009, 12:43 PM
You can be swerving, stumbling, slurring speech, or any indicator of being impaired, .08 means nothing for DUI.

Well, it works both ways really. If you're slurring and stumbling about but under .08 you're still intoxicated. However, if you're completely lucid and have no discernable intoxication symptoms but are OVER .08 you're also, still, intoxicated.

Neat, huh?

ETA: Completely anecdotally, I have never spoken to a Texas law enforcement officer who had any problems with a CHL holder having a couple of drinks socially or at dinner while carrying. In fact, the last time it came up was at a Baptism a few weeks ago when a cop (Host's Father) asked my spouse and I if we carried and I said "normally I do but I left it at home today since I planned on having a few beers" His response was "I don't give a rat's expletive if you've been hammering beers since sunup, you paid for the license, you should carry."

Obviously, that's bad advice but it is indicative (albeit probably the most extreme) of most LEO conversations I've had on the subject. Which probably number in the couple of dozen in the years I've carried. Cops seem to understand that the majority of CHL holders are not the people they have to worry about (again in my admittedly limited experience) and also seem to think that most people who carry wouldn't "pound beers since sunup" in the first place.

YMMV

bear71
June 30, 2009, 12:45 PM
Thanks to everyone for the great posts and particularly zoog and rifleman for their contribution.

It appears the best solution is to always carry but not drink, even at a wedding or other function where it is typical to do so in the spirit of the event. Fourth of July is coming up, lots of parties and drinking over that holiday.

I'll be carrying a two gun rig over the holiday and festively partying but without the alcohol. Not really too much different than what I would normally have done with the exception that I would have put the guns down on the 4th proper to have some drinks.

One other thing, regarding the original post. I swhould let it be known that I drink on maybe two or three occasions a year, very rarely. Prior to this June wedding it was at Christmas. The point is that where there is drinking, particularly outside the home, trouble can arise very quickly and out of thin air where it may be little expected.

Art Eatman
June 30, 2009, 02:17 PM
Good closing summation.

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