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Babylon outlaws public drunkenness

Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14,

Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14, 2011, at 200 East Sunrise Hwy. in Lindenhurst. Credit: Carl Corry

The Babylon Town Board made it a misdemeanor to appear intoxicated in public or at cabarets and dance halls in the town, under a bill made law by 5-0 vote Thursday.

The measure, which joins consumption and open-container laws already in place, carries a penalty of a fine ranging from $250 to $1,000 or up to 90 days' imprisonment for a first conviction, with fines of up to $5,000 for repeat offenders.

Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said other towns have similar laws, but that Babylon's was stricter than many.

"We want to be able to send a message that we're serious, not only about drugs but about alcohol, too, for both the people drinking and those around them," he said.

"I've personally seen the damage it does to families because I've had alcoholism in my family," he added.

Babylon Town code did not outlaw drinking in public or carrying open containers of alcohol until 2010, when Schaffer said calls to Suffolk County police and the town's 311 service about people drinking in front of convenience stores had prompted action.

Before that law, police could issue tickets but not make arrests for drinking in public.

The law sets the blood alcohol content level for intoxication at .08 percent, the same as the state level for legal operation of a vehicle. It is equivalent to about four drinks within the span of an hour for a 150-pound male.

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