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You could go to jail for being drunk around your kids due to old law; A law that has been on books for more than 100 years could see parents jailed for getting drunk in public if their children are around.

Byline: Tom Davidson

Parents who get too drunk while in charge of their children could be arrested and even face jail.

The Bank Holiday could see many parents knocking back a drink or two - but if their children are around they'd be wise not to have too many.

Under the Licensing Act 1902, it is illegal to be drunk in charge of a child in a public place.

The law forbids being drunk on a highway, public place or any licensed premises while in charge of a child under the age of seven.

The crime can be punished by a fine or up to a month in prison.

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Russian billionaire heiress Nicole Ovchinnicova was cleared last year after she was acused of going on a 17-hour binge while looking after a child.

Solicitor advocate Joy Merriam said there was no objective test to see how drunk a parent is, but the key issue is around safeguarding.

She toldThe Sun: "The threshold would be whether the child was compromised. If you're having lunch with a couple of glasses of wine, you probably wouldn't be considered drunk in charge of a child.

"If you're obviously impaired, if it's a young child who needs you to be alert and capable of safeguarding them, that would be the real test."

She said parents of young children needed to be fully alert to protect them from physical harm such as running into a road or climbing on things.

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The solicitor advocate added that parents may be arrested on suspicion of the offence in some situations but the case would likely be passed to social services and not the Crown Prosecution Service.

This means actual convictions are unlikely.

The law in question is specifically about being drunk in public in charge of your child.

But that does not mean it is okay to do it at home either.

If parents get so drunk at home they cannot look after their children they could be charged with neglect or have their kids taken off them.

A spokesperson for the NSPCC said: "Nobody is saying 'don't enjoy yourselves', but just use common sense when looking after children.

"Drink in moderation and always make sure you are in control."


Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The weather this weekend means pub gardens might not be too packed (stock photo)

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Parents have been warned to enjoy drinking in moderation (stock photo)

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you get too drunk you could face prosecution (stock photo)

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Title Annotation:News,UK News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 6, 2019
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