Can a Passenger in a Car Be Charged with DUI?
By: Chris Kramer
A DUI arrest and conviction can lead to serious consequences, some of them lasting many years. Heavy fines, jail time and a negative impact on the individual’s employment are just some of these severe effects.
But it’s not just the driver who is affected by DUI laws. Depending on the state laws, a passenger in the car could also be charged with this offense. If the arresting officer has doubts about who was actually driving the car, the passenger could be investigated. This means that the passenger may need to show identification and the officer might look into this individual’s background for any outstanding warrants or tickets.
Also, depending on state laws, a passenger may face DUI charges after taking control of the car from the passenger seat.
DUI Passenger Rights
While passengers are free to refuse to show their identification to a police officer, this may lead to further problems. Officers who feel there is illegal activity in the vehicle are able to detain passengers as well. This could then lead to an arrest.
There may also be rare cases where, if the passenger is also the owner of the vehicle that’s pulled over, this individual may technically be considered in control of the car. If the passenger of a car allowed an intoxicated person to drive their vehicle the car's owner may face charges or liabilities for damages caused by the DUI offender.
It should also be noted that DUI laws vary by state. This means that the impact of DUI laws on passengers often depends on the state where the alleged incident has taken place.
Connect with a Local Attorney
If you would like more information on your state's laws concerning passenger rights in DUI cases, you can connect with a local attorney today. Get a free case evaluation when you complete the form on this page.
The above summary is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice on your particular situation, contact a DUI attorney.