Drivers in most states will know that it is illegal to have open alcoholic beverage containers in their cars, although laws vary from state to state. However, those in Florida may not realize that they can be charged with DUI if their passengers have unsealed alcohol containers in the vehicle. Furthermore, it is even unlawful for drivers and passengers to have open alcohol containers while they are seated in or on parked vehicles in areas accessible to the public — not restricted to roads.
An example of such a case is on record in another state where an officer responded to a complaint about excessive noise. Upon arrival at the address, the officer claimed he was just in time to see a man reversing his vehicle out of his garage. The driver noticed the officer’s light and pulled back. However, the police suspected impairment, and when the driver’s blood-alcohol content was tested, the results indicated a BAC that was three times higher than the legal limit. A DUI charge was filed, but the man claimed his driveway was not a public road, and he moved to have the charges dismissed.
Both the trial court and the appeals court agreed. However, when it came to the supreme court, it was ruled by the majority that the driveway need not be a place frequently accessed by the public. His driveway was an area that was accessible to any driver who turns into it from the street with nothing to prevent access. It was therefore ruled that the driver had to face the DUI charge.
As is demonstrated here, DUI charges can follow much more than a traffic stop after a night out on the town. A driver need not be driving erratically on the highway to be facing the wrath of the law. The most logical step for any driver who faces a DUI charge in Florida may be to seek the support and guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can explain the laws of the state.
Source: FindLaw, “Can You Get a DUI in Your Driveway?“, Christopher Coble, July 27, 2017