We learn from an early age a popular way to try and stay out of trouble is to blame someone else. As we get older though, it becomes clearer that the best way to avoid punishment is to avoid the offensive action. When you are out with your friends, volunteering to be the designated driver is a smart choice. The problem is that your friends are not also making the choice to forego drinking. Being pulled over for DUI when you are sober is a frustrating experience. The way this can happen is by having passengers in your car with open containers of alcohol. In those instances, you must be aware of your rights and how to defend these serious charges.
Florida open container laws provide punishment in the following circumstances:
● Alcohol within the driver’s reach that is open is a violation of the open container statute. The charge is a moving violation, and is not criminal in nature.
● The law is not limited to vehicles. It is possible to be cited for violation of the open container law simply by carrying an open container in a public place.
● The prohibitions against transporting an open container does not apply to bottles or cans that have not had their seal broken. So, you are within your rights to put an unopened bottle of wine in the passenger seat on your way to a gathering.
An open container conviction is a misdemeanor, and has a fine of up to $500.00 and possible jail time. Because it might be difficult for the officer to determine who the alcohol belongs to, it is best to not allow your passengers to get in your car with an open beer or other alcoholic beverage. One of the worst things that could happen is for the officer to be so unsure as to who has been drinking an open container of alcohol that he requests the driver to submit to a field sobriety test. If you have made the smart choice to be a designated driver, go one step further and make the smarter choice to have your friends finish their drinks before getting in the car.
If you have questions about open container laws, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We aggressively defend you and work to maintain your driving privileges. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.