Imagine you’re driving with your friend to work one morning, and suddenly you hear the pop of a beverage can opening. You figure your friend is drinking a Diet Coke, but when you turn your head, you see an ice-cold can of beer in her hand. She smiles mischievously, and says, “Want a sip?”
Your face turns red because you’re not sure if what she’s doing is illegal. You know that it’s against the law for you to take a sip, and you want to tell her to throw the can out of the window before a police officer pulls you over. What should you do?
Pull over and tell your passenger to dump the beer immediately
Due to open container laws, any open container of alcohol inside a vehicle is considered a legal violation. The rules of the road in Hawaii make it unlawful for anyone inside your car — driver or not — to possess an “open container of alcohol,” that has a broken seal and a certain amount of its contents missing.
In fact, regardless of your blood alcohol concentrations, both you and your passenger could face arrest and charges related to an open container violation.
Don’t be tempted to let your friends drink in the car
It’s certainly tempting to allow your passenger to drink a beer in the car with you, and friends can be especially manipulative when it comes to getting what they want. However, if you’re facing a circumstance like this as a responsible Hawaii driver, you may want to consider whether or not keeping your friend happy is worth getting arrested and subjected to difficult and expensive legal proceedings.
Were you charged with an open container violation while driving?
An open container violation while driving is not as serious as other types of drunk driving-related criminal charges. However, you will still want to navigate your criminal proceedings with care. By learning about how Hawaii DUI laws apply to your situation, and by exploring different criminal defense strategies, you will be able to identify the best way to navigate your defense in court.