Generally speaking, a police officer cannot lay claims or arrest a passenger for being inside a vehicle while the driver was intoxicated. Even if the passenger was intoxicated themselves, they are generally not liable to penalty because they were not sitting directly behind the wheel. However, there are certain scenarios in which a passenger may be penalized as well under a DUI claim.
One such scenario is if an intoxicated person was sitting in a vehicle with the ignition on, waiting for their friend to come in and drive. If a police officer is suspicious they can ask a person for a breath analyses test and on the assumption that the person intended on driving themselves (because no one else was in the car at that moment) they can be arrested.
Another situation in which a passenger may also suffer the brunt of a DUI penalty is if they were holding an open bottle of alcohol with them while they were in the car. A police officer can penalize them under an open container violation. According to state law, all alcoholic beverages must be closed and placed in a safe location while the driver is driving.What happens if a passenger switches seats with someone who is DUI ?
Switching spots with the driver in an attempt to try and trick police officers is not a very smart move to make. If an officer feels like a person was trying to trick them and they have a reason to be suspicious that individuals changed seats before they stopped the vehicle, the officer will most likely cite a more severe penalty against both individuals involved.
If a person was caught driving under the influence, or they were accused of DUI, they should get in touch with a DUI lawyer in Kennesaw, GA. A DUI lawyer is the ideal professional to reach out to because they are well-educated on the laws involving drunk driving and they can assist a person in gathering evidence to ensure their penalty is lightened or their name is cleared.
What penalties can I be faced with if I am caught DUI in Georgia?
If it is decided and proven that a person was actually DUI, they can face some serious charges in Georgia.
Some of the penalties include:
- A minimum of $300 in fines
- A maximum of 10 days in jail
- Mandatory attendance for substance abuse counseling and DUI school
- Suspension of their license
These are the penalties faced by first-time offenders. If a person is caught a second or third time their penalties are increased respectively. Repeat offenders can face up to 5 years in jail and up to $5000 in fines if they are found guilty.
Apart from these penalties, a person will also have to pay additional fines if they caused damage to the road or other vehicles and they may also be faced with other charges depending on how many people were harmed due to them being behind the wheel while they were intoxicated.