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Can I Get a DUI as a Passenger?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

November 3, 2021

Passenger DUI in Florida

This may seem like a simple question, but is it? Technically, you can be charged with DUI when sleeping in your car. You may be wondering, are there laws for passengers under the influence?

Defining DUI

In Florida, DUI is defined as a person driving or in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or another controlled substance.

This means that passengers cannot be charged with DUI because they are not in actual physical control of a vehicle. The only exception to this would be if the passenger touches the wheel while the car is in motion.

If you’re a passenger, you’re safe from DUI charges. However, there is another alcohol-related violation you should be aware of.

Open Container Laws

In Florida, you are prohibited from having an open alcohol beverage in a motor vehicle. Any alcohol in the car must be sealed, or stored in the trunk. If you are a passenger seen with an open beer can, you could find yourself in trouble.

In some states, having an open container in the car is a misdemeanor offense. In Florida, though, it is only a civil infraction. This will result in a fine of up to $60 as a passenger and up to $90 as a driver. You will also gain 3 points on your driver’s license.

If the Driver is Stopped for DUI

If the driver is pulled over, evaluated, and charged with DUI, you will still not face any penalties as the passenger. However, we encourage you to never get in the car with a drunk driver. Instead, call a sober friend or family member for a safe ride, or use Uber/Lyft.

Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Lawyers

If you have recently been charged with DUI, our team at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. is here to help. Share the details of your case with our experienced Broward county defense attorneys – call (954) 840-8713.