CAN A PASSENGER DRINK ALCOHOL IN A CAR?
Though drivers are never allowed to drink while driving, depending on state and local laws, passengers may also be barred from consuming alcohol in a moving car. Many states have open container laws which forbade open cans, bottles, or any other unsealed container of alcohol to be in a car, even if the container is empty. Some states will permit a passenger to transport open containers in a secure position such as a locked glove box or trunk.
If a driver is found to have an open container on their person or within reach, they may be charged with an open container violation. However, even if it is only the passenger who is in possession of an open container, both the driver and the passenger can be cited for an open container violation.
Open Container Violations in Texas
Since Texas is in compliance with the federal TEA-21 standards regarding open containers, passengers may not consume alcohol in a moving vehicle. An open container violation is a Class C misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $500. However, if you are charged with a DWI and an open alcohol container is found in your vehicle, you could be facing a longer jail sentence.
In fact, your car does not even need to be moving for the Texas statute to apply. Only buses, taxis, limos, and motorhomes may have open containers in them while stationary.
If you were arrested for drinking while driving, a skilled DWI attorney from Hamilton Grant PC can evaluate the circumstances of your arrest to make sure your rights are protected. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, and get the aggressive defense you need to fight these serious charges.