Can You Drink Alcohol as a Passenger in a Vehicle?
While we’re all aware that drinking and driving is a serious offense in the state, many think only those behind the wheel have to stay dry. After all, those in the passenger seat aren’t in control, so their level of sobriety won’t raise the risk of a wreck. However, while passengers can be inebriated, there are specific laws that make it illegal to consume alcohol in a vehicle.
In this article, we take a closer look at these laws, the penalties for violating them, and how an attorney might be able to help any resulting charges:
Florida’s Open Container Laws
In the state, it’s illegal to possess or drink any open containers of alcohol while operating a vehicle. This law also extends to passengers, so you will still face serious penalties even if you’re sitting in the backseat.
What Are the Penalties for Violating Florida’s Open Container Laws?
Driving under the influence is considered a far more serious offense than carrying an open container in your vehicle, but you will still probably face strict punishments. Penalties vary based on whether it’s your first, second, third, or subsequent offense. For instance, for your first violation you will usually receive a $75 fine. If it’s your third offense, you could be ordered to pay up to $450 in fines. These penalties could be increased if the prosecution has evidence that your violation directly contributed towards causing an accident.
Can an Attorney Assist with My Case?
If you were cited for violating Florida’s open container laws, or were arrested for driving under the influence, it may be wise to contact a DUI attorney. A lawyer can investigate what happened, help you build a strong defense, and make sure your rights are protected throughout proceedings. It’s possible that he or she may find evidence that could help dismantle the state’s case, such as:
- You were illegally stopped by police officers, i.e., they didn’t have probable cause;
- Other evidence contradicts the arresting officers’ version of events;
- Non-alcoholic beverages were mistaken for open containers of alcohol; or
- The citation was incorrectly issued.
Not only can an attorney help you build your defense, he or she can also provide representation, guidance, and support from the first meeting until the final verdict.
Discuss Your Case with a Palm Beach Gardens DUI Attorney Today
Were you cited for violating Florida’s open container laws? You may benefit from discussing your case with an attorney. Attorney Todd A. Kawecki has years of experience representing those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. He can meet with you to discuss your case, answer your questions, and describe how he plans to tackle your case.
Todd knows what it takes to achieve a favorable outcome in even the most complex cases. As a former prosecutor, he’s developed an in-depth understanding of Florida’s laws, statutes, and criminal proceedings. To request a free case review with a Florida DUI lawyer, contact us today at 772-485-4500 or head over to our contact form HERE.