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October 12, 2018
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November 5, 2018

Can Passengers Face Charges in DUI Arrests?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

October 22, 2018

DUI charges are grave matters, but typically, passengers have nothing to fear from DUI charges as they were never in control of the vehicle. However, just because passengers can’t be charged for a DUI, it does not mean they will get off scot-free! There are a few charges passengers may face in DUI arrests depending on the circumstances.

Open Container Violations

Passengers can face Florida open container violations if they have an open container of alcohol within their reach. While open container violations are not criminal violations, they are moving violations that could lead to points on your license. Therefore, if getting into a vehicle with friends, it is wise to ditch any open containers you may have.

Underage Drinking

Passengers cannot be charged for a DUI, but police officers can check the IDs of all peoples in the vehicle during a DUI stop. If police have reason to suspect that an underage passenger has been drinking, they can ask him or her to undergo sobriety tests. If a young person is found guilty of drinking, they can be charged for underage drinking, which is a serious criminal offense that can result in license suspension among other negative consequences.

Public Intoxication & Drunk & Disorderly

In Florida, public intoxication is a crime, and passengers in a DUI arrest can face public intoxication charges. Most roadways are public property, which means being intoxicated in a vehicle on a public roadway is grounds for a public intoxication charge. If a passenger is rowdy or rude to police due to their intoxication, police can also hand out a more serious drunk and disorderly charge. Therefore, we recommend that passengers always remain silent throughout the DUI arrest to not draw attention to themselves.

To recap, passengers can face charges despite their immunity to a DUI arrest. If you or a loved one is charged with any of the crimes mentioned above, contact us as soon as possible for experienced criminal defense representation!

Call (954) 840-8713 now for an immediate consultation for your case!