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Can a passenger drink alcohol in the car?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2022 | DWI Defense

You know that it’s illegal to drink and drive, and you can’t have an open drink in your car while you’re operating the vehicle. This could result in DWI charges in the same way that you could be charged if your blood alcohol concentration is over 0.08%.

But what about when you’re a passenger? Say that you’re drinking at your house when a friend comes over to pick you up. Rather than wasting the rest of your drink, you just take it in the vehicle with you. After all, it is their vehicle and you are definitely not going to be driving it, so you’re not worried about getting a DWI. Is this legal?

Open container laws

This is not legal, even though you are not going to be driving, under the open container laws in Texas. They state that someone cannot have an open container anywhere in the passenger compartment, which means you can’t even drink if you’re sitting in the back seat and have no possible way to manipulate the vehicle. Any situation in which you have an open container in that vehicle could lead to legal charges.

There are some exceptions that apply in rare situations, such as the fact that people are allowed to drink in the back of a limousine. But when considering your typical passenger car, it doesn’t matter that you’re not driving. You still have to understand that there’s a legal risk if you have that open container.

Did a mistake lead to charges?

You can see how you could make an honest mistake where you think that you’re not doing anything wrong but then you end up facing arrest. If this does happen, you need to know exactly what legal options you have.