Discover America Radio

Legal Matters and Dangers

Drinking & Drugs

Bars and stores often ask for photo ID to prove you are of legal drinking age (i.e. 21 or over). Being ‘carded’ is standard practice; don’t take it personally. The sale of alcohol is subject to local government regulations; some counties prohibit alcohol sales on Sunday, after midnight or before breakfast. In ‘dry’ counties, alcohol sales are banned altogether.

In all states, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence, subject to stiff fines and even imprisonment.

Recreational drugs are prohibited by federal and state laws. Some states, such as California and Alaska, treat possession of small quantities of marijuana as a misdemeanour, though it is still punishable with fines and/or imprisonment.

Possession of any illicit drug, including cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, heroin, hashish or more than 1oz of pot, is a felony potentially punishable by lengthy jail sentences. For foreigners, conviction of any drug offence is grounds for deportation.



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Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Crime

For the traveller, petty theft is the biggest concern, not violent crime. When possible, withdraw money from ATMs during the day, or at night in well-lit, busy areas. Lock valuables in the boot of your car before arriving at your destination. In hotels, you can secure valuables in room or hotel safes.

Be streetwise. In big cities, don’t forget that three card-Monte card games are always rigged, and that expensive electronics, watches and designer items sold on the cheap from sidewalk (street) tables are either fakes or stolen. Those truly fascinated by all the ways American hawkers make a living today can browse the ‘Consumer Guides’ at www.usa.gov.



Lonely Planet logo

Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Natural Disasters

Napa Valley is open for business. For travelers planning to visit Northern California in the near future: Most business are open as usual. However, following Sunday’s Napa Valley Earthquake, make sure to contact your travel providers prior to travel. The affected areas include Napa Valley, Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Sonoma and Vallejo. Get more information here: http://www.visitcalifornia.com/Articles/Napa-Valley-Earthquake-Update/

Most areas with predictable natural disturbances – tornadoes in the Midwest, hurricanes in the South – have an emergency siren system to alert communities to imminent danger. These sirens are tested periodically at noon, but if you hear one and suspect trouble, turn on a local TV or radio station, which will be broadcasting safety warnings and advice.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers in-case-of-emergency advice, news and information on all the ways your vacation could go horribly, horribly wrong. But relax: it probably won’t.



Lonely Planet logo

Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

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