An eyewitness alerted an off-duty Fish and WildLife Officer to a vehicle driving recklessly in the neighborhood. The Officer searched the neighborhood in his unmarked patrol car for the suspect and spotted the Defendant. Reportedly, the Defendant ran a stop sign and parked his car on the side of the road. The off-duty Officer approached the Defendant as he stood near his vehicle. Noticing signs of impairment, the Officer reported a possible DUI to the local sheriff’s department. Defendant refused sobriety tests and was placed under arrest for DUI. A search of his vehicle revealed an open container, a bottle of Vodka and a non-prescription pill bottle containing Xanax.
Open Container in Florida
Florida Statutes 316.1936 states “an open container shall be considered to be in the possession of the operator of a vehicle if the container is not in the possession of a passenger and is not located in a locked glove compartment, locked trunk, or other locked non-passenger areas of the vehicle.”
An open container is defined in Florida as any alcoholic beverage that has the potential to be immediately consumed. It could also mean the seal of the container has been broken. Examples of open containers include beers in both cans and bottles, a mixed drink, or an open bottle of spirits.
If you do have an open container in the car with you, it must be located in a specific spot. It must either be in the trunk, glove box, or any other locked non-passenger part of the vehicle.
One exception to the open container rule is a bottle of wine. If you are at a restaurant and purchased a bottle of wine, but do not drink all of it, you can recork it.
If there is a passenger with you, according to Florida Statutes, “An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of a passenger of a vehicle if the container is in the physical control of the passenger.”
Musca Law Firm
If you have been charged with a DUI or any drug related charges, please call Musca Law. We are located in several cities in Florida, serving the entire state. We offer a free initial consultation to our clients to ensure we are the right fit for the case.
Our firm has 150 years of collective experience. We are not afraid to fight for your rights or negotiate. We will hold the prosecution responsible for proving their case.
Please call us 24 hours per day, 7 days a week as we realize life does not just happen during business hours.
RESULT: Attorneys at Musca Law demanded a trial on the merits of the case, thereby forcing the State to prove their case beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. The Defense attacked every aspect of the arresting officer’s contact with the Defendant and persuaded the jury to find the Defendant NOT GUILTY! Our Client is eligible to have his charges expunged.