Cheers! It’s the weekend and your weekend plans include alcohol and a night out on the town. The pregame party has begun, the music is bumping, the liquor is flowing and everyone is drinking but the designated driver. Ya’ll do the responsible thing by designating a sober driver for the night, but, there’s a catch, ya’ll also decide to drink in the car on the way to your local hotspot. You and all your friends figure that as long as the driver isn’t drinking and driving, all the passengers can drink in the car. You are the driver and the passengers in your car include two of your friends that are both 23 years old as well as another one of your friends who is 20 years old.
Although it is a smart decision to designate a sober driver, it is not a smart decision to drink alcohol in a moving vehicle because of open container laws. South Carolina law prohibits having an open container of beer, wine, or liquor in a moving vehicle of any kind except in the trunk or luggage compartment. A person who violates the open container law in South Carolina will face fines and may also face imprisonment. The passengers as well as the driver can face punishment for their violation of this law.
Furthermore, since one of the passengers is under the legal age to consume alcohol, the other passengers as well as the driver can face punishment for serving alcohol to a minor. The punishment for this crime will include fines and may include imprisonment as well.
There are always exceptions to the rule, which means, you may have a valid excuse under the law that will allow you to escape punishment. But, there are few exceptions, so the best way to protect yourself is to follow the black letter law. However, if you feel law enforcement has unfairly targeted you and has cited you for any crime you have not committed, or if you feel you have a valid excuse that justifies your behavior, contact attorney Daniel Selwa.
Have a great, safe weekend.