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Can a passenger drink alcohol in my car?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2016 | Drunk Driving, Firm News |

Every driver in the country knows that it is illegal to consume alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle of any kind, be it a car, motorcycle or even a boat. Law enforcement officials take possible DUI cases very seriously, which is one of the reasons that attempting to claim that an alcoholic beverage belongs to your passenger will likely not save you if you get pulled over.

There are only seven states in the country that do not have what are known as open container laws, and Louisiana is not one of them. Because of the open container laws in our state, you could be in violation simply for having a container that holds or once held an alcoholic beverage in your vehicle. Even if the container belongs to your passenger and even if you never touched the container or its contents, you could still be in violation of the open container laws.

It is important to note that simply being in violation of open container laws is not nearly as serious as being charged or convicted of a DUI, but if a police officer pulls you over and sees an open container, the chances of you being charged with a DUI will increase significantly. Simply seeing an open container gives an officer probable cause to search your vehicle and administer a field sobriety test, and if you fail that sobriety test, your situation will immediately escalate.

The most effective way to avoid such a circumstance is simply not to have an open container of any kind in your vehicle because even an empty soda can could have been filled with alcohol, and a law enforcement official may become suspicious. But it is unreasonable to expect drivers everywhere to spend hours on the road without a refreshment, so simply do your best to show that the container is not filled with alcohol. If you are found to be in violation of the open container laws, and if you are charged with a DUI, consider contacting an attorney immediately to help you with your legal defense.