Anyone who has a driver’s license should know that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, they may wonder if it is acceptable for passengers to drink while in the vehicle; most states prohibit it, but laws vary. Below is a discussion of open container laws and their relevance to DUI cases.
The Basics of Open Container Laws
Most states prohibit the presence of open bottles and cans of alcoholic beverages, even empties, inside vehicles. By default, a person drinking alcohol possesses an open container. Some states allow unsealed containers in secured locations such as trunks and glove compartments. However, 43 states have open container laws, and 40 states’ laws are in compliance with federal standards.
Drivers can be cited for open container violations if the container is within their reach. Even if a passenger is the one holding the container, both people may be cited. In either case, the passenger’s BAC is irrelevant. If a driver or passenger is unsure of state law, they should consult DUI Attorneys in Morgantown WV.
Exceptions to the Rule
Seven US states don’t have laws on open containers: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia and West Virginia don’t expressly prohibit open containers in vehicles. Three states have open container laws that aren’t fully compliant with federal standards. The question still remains, however: Can a passenger consume alcohol in a vehicle if there’s no open container law? DUI Attorneys in Morgantown WV will say that the answer to that question is yes, as long as it’s not prohibited by local ordinances. In Mississippi, even the driver can drink as long as his or her BAC is under the legal limit.
Hire a Knowledgeable DUI Lawyer
If a person is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, they may need DUI Attorneys in Morgantown WV. A knowledgeable lawyer whose practice focuses on DUI cases can evaluate evidence, including the methodology and results of chemical and field sobriety tests, to ensure that a client retains his or her legal rights. It’s important to consult with DUI Attorneys in Morgantown WV, and most offer no-obligation consultations.