I’ve certainly been kicked out of a few bars in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been officially “banned” from one, but there are certainly places that I’d probably not be welcomed back to. Getting banned from a couple of bars isn’t really a big deal. You’re probably not having enough fun if you’ve never run the risk of being banned from a particular watering hole.
But getting banned from every bar in an entire country? That is something special. The Daily Mail reports that a woman — a wee babe of 20 — has pulled off this amazing feat:
A woman has become the first person to be banned from buying or drinking alcohol anywhere in England and Wales.
Laura Hall, 20, was issued with a Drinking Banning Order – nicknamed Booze Asbos – which bars her from entering any pub, club, off-licence or bar.
The two-year order also bans Hall from buying alcohol at any other establishment or shop, carrying it in an unsealed container or drinking it in a public place.
A “Drinking Banning Order”? What the hell kind of totalitarian remedy is that?
Drinking Banning Orders are modelled on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. The key aspects of DBOs are as follows:
* DBOs are civil orders. A DBO can be made against an individual aged at least 16 if he has engaged in criminal or disorderly conduct while under the influence of alcohol and the court considers that such an order is necessary to protect persons from further conduct by him of that kind.
* A DBO may impose any prohibition on the individual that the court considers necessary to protect others from alcohol related crime or disorderly conduct by him while under the influence of alcohol. The prohibitions must include whatever the court thinks necessary for that purpose with regard to the individual entering premises that sell alcohol.
* They can be made either on application to the courts by the police or local authority, or on conviction of an alcohol related offence.
* Offenders who breach a DBO will be liable to a fine not exceeding level 4 (£2,500). There is no custodial penalty for breach of a DBO.
* The Violent Crime Reduction Act also enables courts to offer a “Positive Behaviour Intervention” course – on a voluntary basis – to the subject of a DBO, as a means to address their alcohol misuse behaviour. These courses focus on educating individuals about the serious social and health impact of heavy alcohol consumption. Successful completion of the course may lead to a reduction in the length of the Order.
The Home Office also issued some guidance on when DBOs should be used:
DBOs are to be used to address an individual’s alcohol misuse behaviour and protect others and their property from such behaviour. Alcohol misuse, and particularly that associated with anti-social and disorderly behaviour, is a significant concern for many people in our communities. Such alcohol misuse behaviour is a strong contributory factor associated with a wide range of crimes or disorderly behaviour that can include:
* public order offences (often anti-social by nature, these offences can involve rowdy, threatening and abusive behaviour, disorderly groups of people, and urinating in public)
* criminal damage
* minor and serious assaults
* violent offences
* traffic offences.
Hall is the first person to receive a nationwide DBO.
Talk about an unenforceable law. You’re telling me that when Hall goes to a football match, somebody is going to stop her from buying a pint? Is the freaking MI5 going to be on her ass?
Let’s hope anti-social behavior orders stay on the stiff-lipped side of the Atlantic.