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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Understanding Title 18 U.S.C. 1262: The Federal Law on Transporting Intoxicating Liquor

By Spodek Law Group | February 15, 2023

Don’t Transport Liquor Across State Lines Without Knowing the Law

Have you heard of “dry counties” or “dry towns” where alcohol sales are still prohibited by law? If you transport liquor across state lines into one of these zones without a specific license, you could be charged with a federal crime of transportation into a state prohibiting sale as defined under Title 18 U.S.C. §1262. This means you need experienced federal legal representation to represent you in court for the best chance at a favorable outcome.

The term “intoxicating liquor” in this statute covers any alcoholic beverage containing more than 4 percent alcohol by volume or 3.2 percent alcohol by weight, which includes beer, wine, and distilled spirits. Under this law, it is a federal offense to knowingly transport any intoxicating liquor into a state, territory, district, or possession of the United States where the sale of that particular type of alcohol has been prohibited.

Why is this a violation of federal law? It has to do with interstate commerce. Violating a law within a state is generally charged within that state, but once the violation involves crossing state lines, it becomes a federal matter. Transporting liquor across state lines into a prohibited area is considered a federal liquor trafficking offense, punishable by prison time if convicted.

The penalties for violating U.S.C. 1262 are pretty straightforward. You may be sentenced to up to one year in federal prison per offense if convicted, and subject to any applicable fines. This is why it’s essential to understand the law and seek legal representation if you’re under investigation or already indicted for liquor trafficking.

Understanding Title 18 U.S.C. 1262: The Federal Law on Transporting Intoxicating Liquor

If you enjoy a glass of wine, a cold beer, or a cocktail, you may not realize that transporting your favorite alcoholic beverage across state lines could lead to serious legal consequences. Under Title 18 U.S.C. 1262, a federal law dating back to the Prohibition era, it is illegal to knowingly transport any intoxicating liquor into a state, territory, district, or possession of the United States where the sale of that particular type of alcohol has been prohibited.

Defining “Intoxicating Liquor”

The law defines “intoxicating liquor” as any alcoholic beverage containing more than 4 percent alcohol by volume or 3.2 percent alcohol by weight. This definition encompasses almost any type of alcoholic beverage on the market, including beer, wine, and distilled spirits. In fact, the average beer is 5 percent alcohol, which means it falls within the definition of “intoxicating liquor” under this law.

The Scope of the Law

Title 18 U.S.C. 1262 primarily targets alcohol transport by carriers, such as truck drivers, who knowingly transport intoxicating liquor into a state where it is prohibited. However, the law may also apply to individuals who transport alcohol across state lines. This means that if you are caught transporting alcohol into a state where its sale is prohibited, you could be facing federal charges.

The Consequences of Violating Title 18 U.S.C. 1262

The consequences of violating Title 18 U.S.C. 1262 can be severe. If convicted, you could face fines, imprisonment, or both. The specific penalties depend on various factors, including the amount of alcohol involved, the circumstances surrounding the offense, and whether you have any prior criminal convictions.

Protect Yourself from Federal Criminal Charges

Federal criminal charges for violating U.S.C. 1262 are severe, and the penalties are typically more severe than facing criminal charges at the state level. If you’re facing a federal crime, you need experienced federal legal representation to help you navigate the legal system and achieve a favorable outcome.

At Spodek Law Group, our federal criminal defense lawyers have a record of success and will guide you throughout the process. We can negotiate a plea agreement, attempt to get evidence suppressed, or present evidence to create reasonable doubt in court to get the prosecutor to drop the case.

If you’re convicted of this crime, you could face up to a year in prison. Don’t risk your freedom and reputation by representing yourself or relying on an inexperienced lawyer. Contact us today for a consultation to protect your future.

Examples of Transporting Alcohol into Prohibited Areas

David, a truck driver, is transporting a small shipment of wine from out of state to a new restaurant. However, the restaurant is located in a “dry town” where alcohol sales are prohibited. The restaurateur intends to serve the alcohol to a select number of guests. Although the restaurant might face local or state penalties, David could be charged with a federal crime for transporting alcohol into the state.

In another example, Jenny lives in a “dry county” in Texas and travels to a “wet county” to buy gin. She then transports it home in the trunk of her car. She may or may not face local offenses based on state or local laws. However, she is not guilty of a federal crime since she did not cross any state lines.

Lastly, Bob is transporting a shipment of whiskey from a Kentucky distillery to various stops in New York. During his trip, he passes through a dry county in New Jersey and is pulled over on a routine traffic stop. The whiskey is discovered, and Bob does not have a permit. However, he explains that he is passing through the state and has law enforcement call his employer to confirm. Bob is not guilty of a federal crime since he was passing through the state and did not intend to stop.

Transporting alcohol into prohibited areas is regulated under 18 U.S.C. 1261, which is enforced by the Attorney General. If found guilty of violating this statute, you may face significant penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Other related crimes include improper labeling and shipping of packages (18 U.S. Code 1263), delivering liquor shipments to someone other than the consignee (18 U.S.C. 1264), and shipping alcohol by cash on delivery (C.O.D.) (U.S.C. 1265).

Defense Strategies

If you face federal charges related to transporting alcohol into prohibited areas, it’s critical to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Through negotiations with the federal prosecutor, it may be possible to work out a favorable resolution. If guilt is not in question, a plea agreement may be the best defense strategy. However, we are always prepared to take the case to trial if we can’t settle the matter.

At Spodek Law Group, our attorney Todd Spodek has extensive experience representing clients facing federal charges across the United States. We provide aggressive legal representation to defend your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today by phone or by filling out the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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