If an officer catches someone who is driving under the influence, that driver can be faced with serious, and often, life-changing penalties. The penalties a driver is subjected to vary depending on how severely they were intoxicated and also on other factors, such as whether or not they caused any form of damage to other drivers while they were DUI.
Often, if they had passengers in the vehicle with them, they can be subject to facing worse charges because of the deliberate danger they had put them in. If the passengers were underage they will most likely have to pay higher fines and face more severe legal consequences.
Can a passenger be held accountable for DUI?
In most cases, a passenger can and will not be charged if they are caught riding in the vehicle of someone who was driving under the influence. However, there are some cases in which passengers may be penalized as well.
First of all, if an officer has reason to believe that the passenger had attempted to control the vehicle, such as by touching the steering wheel, they can charge them for DUI alongside the driver. For this to happen, the passenger must have a high BAC level as well.
Another case in which a passenger may be charged is if the officer believes they were encouraging the driver to drink and drive or they were handing the driver alcohol while the vehicle was moving. In order for a proper DUI charge to be placed against the passenger, he or she must also have been intoxicated and they must have done something to make the officer believe they were also attempting to operate the vehicle.
If a passenger is under 21 years of age and they are caught with alcohol they may also be charged with underage possession of alcohol. The chances of being charged with possession of alcohol are a lot higher for a passenger than to actually be charged with DUI alongside the driver.
Why is DUI taken so seriously by the law?
Police officers don’t take DUI cases lightly at all, despite the fact that so many of them occur every year. The reason there are such high penalties and fines associated with drunk driving is because of the extreme danger the act brings. The road is already a very dangerous place, even when a person is alert and aware; the chances of getting into an accident are relatively high. When a person is intoxicated there is no way they can keep up with the continuously changing environment and the chances they will seriously hurt someone are much too high.
Anyone who has made the mistake of drunk driving or anyone who was a passenger of a drunk driver should call a DUI attorney in Boca Raton, Florida if an officer pulls them over and charges them for their crime. A DUI lawyer can be very helpful when it comes to defending one’s position in court.