Can you get in trouble for drinking in your car even though you are not driving at the time?

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Can you get in trouble for drinking in your car even though you are not driving at the time?

I’ve got a buddy of mine who was drinking in his car in a parking lot and noticed cameras nearby. He was wondering if anything could happen to him?

Asked on May 24, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can get in trouble for this. While technically, it's neither DUI nor DWI--IF the car never moves while your friend is drinking or has alcohal in his blood--the assumption is that if someone is in a car; the car is not in his own garage or driveway; and he was drinking, that he must have been driving. (After all, how did the car get to the parking lot?)

It may be possible to fight this, but it's an uphill fight; the DUI and DWI laws are very strong, and as stated, the presumption is that drinking in a car is against the law. Therefore, assuming your buddy does  not suffer any consequences this time, he should never do this again. And if he is charged, he needs to retain a defense attorney.


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