Sorta made a mistake last night (In Alabama)

Sorta made a mistake last night (In Alabama)

This is a discussion on Sorta made a mistake last night (In Alabama) within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Long story short, my girlfriend and I were driving back from Panama City Beach, FL (We were on vacation for the last week) overnight to ...

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Thread: Sorta made a mistake last night (In Alabama)

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Pro2A's Avatar
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    Sorta made a mistake last night (In Alabama)

    Long story short, my girlfriend and I were driving back from Panama City Beach, FL (We were on vacation for the last week) overnight to avoid traffic because I had just gotten a tattoo which I scheduled late on our last day there to prevent sunburn and ocean water irritating it. We left there about 5pm Friday after supper. I have a prescription for Xanax to help me sleep and because of my anxiety. I don't sleep well in a car because of anxiety being a passenger, but needed to sleep because I was going to drive the second leg in the morning since it was a 17 hour drive. My girlfriend slept late that day so she was well rested to drive the first half. Well before I decided to get some shut eye and took my pill, I unloaded my 9mm left the slide open and placed it kinda at my feet under my seat a bit, I just wanted to be on the safe side as I tend to do when taking my prescription. My normal dosage is about 1.5mg (which I took initially) and could not fall asleep, my doctor said if that doesn't help with the sleep I can take a little bit more as needed. I ended up taking about ~2.25mgs total. That much makes me a little "off" at times, anyway it kicked in and off to la-la land I went.

    Jump forward to about 9:30pm, there was a checkpoint in Phenix City, Alabama. I was out like a light, my girlfriend was driving and for some reason I woke up during the checkpoint. Mind you I had just woken up coupled with the fact I had taken my Xanax, so I didn't have a clear mind, it takes a good few hours to wear off, and really has it's full effect about 2 hours after taking it. The officer asked my GF for her license and registration. I informed the officer that I had a firearm in the glove box and I was licensed to possess it in the state of Alabama due to my NH and FL nonresident permits. Another officer approached my window and asked me to roll the window down so he could retrieve the handgun and registration. At this point I had totally forgotten I had unloaded it and placed it under my seat, sorta under my feet. My girlfriend pointed that out to the officer, so then they thought I was lying, which I wasn't I had just forgotten I had unloaded it and moved it earlier.

    About this time he noticed I was a acting weird because of my Xanax (It does do that, it sorta has a similar effect of alcohol but in a less drunk way), and asked me if I was under the influence. I told him that I had taken my Xanax before the trip to get to get some sleep and it was a prescription from my doctor. I was asked to step out and at that point I was detained. They asked my GF a lot of questions as they did me. They removed my handgun and I guess they ran it to make sure it wasn't stolen (same with my vehicle) etc... I was told it was illegal in Alabama to be under the influence of a mind altering substance and also be in possession of a firearm. The weapon was not on my person, but unloaded at my feet. After all was said and done the officer stuck it in my luggage in the back of the vehicle. Checked my prescription bottle, determined my answers matched my girlfriends then sent us on our way.



    I was confused because he flat out told me it was illegal to have a weapon and be under the influence. I was totally cooperative, didn't argue and answered all their questions. I have no prior history of criminal activity, I have valid CCL's from my home state of PA and non resident permits from FL, NH and ME. My girlfriend is not licensed to carry yet, but also has no criminal record.

    So I have 2 questions. If it was "illegal" as he said, why did he let me go?

    Even though I was issued no citation, I wasn't charged or arrested, could this effect the validity of my current CCL's?


  2. #2
    Member Array DrahtDog's Avatar
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    It doesnt take a genius to realize guns and xanax or any drug for that matter dont mix. But fortunately for you, you where smart enough to remove the firearm from your person and unload it. I believe if you had not you would have most certainly been put in jail. You may not realize it, but it doesnt take much xanax to get someone all f'ed up, for a lack of better term. Also it is a drug that is also abused frequently and prescribed by the pill mills. So in his eyes your prescription dont count for a whole lot, especially when you are carrying a firearm.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro2A View Post
    So I have 2 questions. If it was "illegal" as he said, why did he let me go?

    Even though I was issued no citation, I wasn't charged or arrested, could this effect the validity of my current CCL's?
    #1. You need to check Alabama law to find out if it is illegal. Depending on what an officer feels you violated they have desecration as to ticketing someone(such as speeding). I am sure it also depends on how their questions are answered.

    #2. I highly doubt it will have an impact on your permits(not a legal answer).
    "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation."
    --Thomas B. Reed, American Attorney

    Second Amendment -- Established December 15, 1791 and slowly eroded ever since What happened to "..... shall not be infringed."

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    Senior Member Array Cold Shot's Avatar
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    Alabama is not a "must-inform" state. From what I gather on this site, a lot of people feel the need to inform LEO of the fact that they are carrying. I'm not, and I won't. Never been pulled over though.
    TN_Mike likes this.

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    Senior Member Array Cold Shot's Avatar
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    In my car in my state I assume they could probably run my info and find out, but I don't like to be pulled out of a car in the middle of the night in backwoods Alabama.
    mano3 likes this.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Pro2A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Shot View Post
    Alabama is not a "must-inform" state. From what I gather on this site, a lot of people feel the need to inform LEO of the fact that they are carrying. I'm not, and I won't. Never been pulled over though.
    Yes, I know AL isn't a duty to inform state, but because of my state of mind at that particular moment and the fact I forgot I had moved it, I felt it would be a good idea to inform the officer before anyone reached in the glovebox.

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    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    You and your girl friend won the armed when you shouldn't be lottery. I'm guessing the reason you both were turned loose with a warning is that you did cooperate and were not aggressive. Most states have statutes addressing the concealed carry of a firearm while under the influence. Many states do not differentiate between loaded and unloaded so there again you probably dodged another incident that could have been worse that a talking to. Her being the driver could have possibly also been charged with a firearm possession in some states.

    You obviously know that you are not mentally aware enough to be carrying when you are taking those meds so I hope that in the future it's not just unloaded at your feet but unloaded and not within your direct care, custody or control. That will save your bacon in the future if you have a similar encounter.

    Consider that a learning moment and thanks for sharing.
    vca2004, kante, HKR and 2 others like this.
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  8. #8
    Ex Member Array ArmyMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro2A View Post
    I was confused because he flat out told me it was illegal to have a weapon and be under the influence. I was totally cooperative, didn't argue and answered all their questions. I have no prior history of criminal activity, I have valid CCL's from my home state of PA and non resident permits from FL, NH and ME. My girlfriend is not licensed to carry yet, but also has no criminal record.

    So I have 2 questions. If it was "illegal" as he said, why did he let me go?

    Even though I was issued no citation, I wasn't charged or arrested, could this effect the validity of my current CCL's?
    Firstly, thank you for sharing your story so we can all learn from it and perhaps avoid the situation ourselves.

    Yes, it's bad ju-ju, permits or not, to be under the influence while in possession of a firearm. "Possession" doesn't mean it's on your person, it means it's under your control.

    Cops have a wide range of discretion, and it appears to me they let you go because you were acting in good faith, a normal guy who made an honest mistake that didn't harm anyone. I think that was the right thing to do and I'm greatful for the cop's decision.
    Pro2A likes this.

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro2A View Post
    I was confused because he flat out told me it was illegal to have a weapon and be under the influence. I was totally cooperative, didn't argue and answered all their questions. I have no prior history of criminal activity, I have valid CCL's from my home state of PA and non resident permits from FL, NH and ME. My girlfriend is not licensed to carry yet, but also has no criminal record.

    So I have 2 questions. If it was "illegal" as he said, why did he let me go?

    Even though I was issued no citation, I wasn't charged or arrested, could this effect the validity of my current CCL's?
    He didn't include the words "a loaded firearm".... since it was unloaded, it was legal. If it had been loaded, you would have had a different discussion with them.

    It wouldn't effect your current CC licenses, since you weren't charged with anything.
    I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. --- Will Rogers ---
    Chief Justice John Roberts : "I don't see how you can read Heller and not take away from it the notion that the Second Amendment...was extremely important to the framers in their view of what liberty meant."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Caertaker's Avatar
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    So getting the tattoo was the mistake...right?
    Brad426, ep1953 and RKflorida like this.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Ah, Phenix City - a rotten little town. Anyway, the answer in this case is that you should have had a car safe, like this one, which is excellent for securing your firearm if you have to leave it in the vehicle for a short length of time.

    If your gun is locked away and stowed under the seat, it makes a situation like this one less problematic.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    Some states make exceptions for prescribed drugs when taken in therapeutic quantities, which you had taken. Given that you regularly (?) take a prescription medicine, i would recommend that when you travel you make an extra detailed review the laws of the states you plan to travel through to see what their stance on this is.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Dennis1209's Avatar
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    Yes, thanks for sharing and do not mean the following to be critical or mean spirited.

    On occasion my wife and I will go to a friends house and eventually the beer will start flowing. Prior to my first beer, I'll unload my weapon and magazine's, separate the ammo and gun, and securely store them in the trunk of the car or under the back seat of the pick up. That way I know I don't have easy access to them and if my wife gets stopped driving home, or the frequent pee pee pull overs in route. There will be no mention of guns in a need not inform state if pulled over. If in a must inform state, I will immediately tell LE what I have and where I have it. I will not consent to a search of my vehicle, they will need to obtain a search warrant for that.

    IMO, you were very lucky your weapon was unloaded and you and your GF were very cooperative. Possession of a firearm, loaded or not, on you or in your immediate reach, while under the influence, legal medication or not, is a crime in every state I know of.

    Count your experience as a valuable lesson learned.
    Sig35seven likes this.
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    Member Array Glhadiator's Avatar
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    Yeah, you were lucky! But I would attribute that luck to the cooperation and respect you gave the officers on the scene. We must all remember that as law-abiding citizens the LEO's are not our enemy.

    In my state, Nebraska, I must keep the firearm concealed and in control on my person or locked in a gun safe (key in my possession) while in the vehicle. Otherwise any and all passengers will be charged with possession of a concealed weapon. And if one of them is a minor!? Or I'm intoxicated? Lordy the list would be long and I'd be reading it from jail.

    I'm glad it worked out for you. Sometimes we get to learn lessons without all the consequences.

    Serve my country, swear an oath to protect it, pay my taxes, fly old glory in the front yard, love and protect my family, honor the vets before me and help fellow americans in need.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    To be perfectly honest if the state of mind you describe yourself in under the influence of Xanax,groggy not able to think well etc. IMHO you should have locked the gun up and not just unloaded it under your feet.Being asleep and then being woken up suddenly while your drugged mind is working to comprehend whats going on and making the wrong move could have some really bad consequences
    Sig35seven and BkCo1 like this.
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