Thousands of drivers in California are pulled over by the police every year on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). What happens to the passengers involved in a DUI stop? It’s important to know, in case it happens to you. When a driver is arrested for DUI, his or her passengers are also subject to arrest in certain situations.
Passengers in a DUI stop should avoid arguing with the police. In fact, it’s probably best not to speak unless or until spoken to. Passengers should avoid offering more information than they’re asked for, and they should never get out of the vehicle unless told to. Arguing with a police officer is an easy way for a passenger to end up arrested for disorderly conduct. You may remember this happened to the actress Reese Witherspoon in Atlanta in 2013.
If minors are passengers during a DUI arrest, the driver may be charged with reckless endangerment or child endangerment. In some states, an adult passenger can be charged with a secondary DUI, reckless endangerment, and other infractions.
If a driver is arrested and you are a passenger, usually the arresting officer will evaluate your level of intoxication. If you’re sober, the officer may ask why you didn’t take the wheel after it became clear that the driver was intoxicated. A passenger needs to offer a plausible response to this question. Usually, you’ll need to prove that you do not have a license, you don’t know how to drive, or there’s a medical or legal restriction that prevents you from driving. If you can’t offer a good reason why you weren’t driving, you may be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.
If you’re charged with DUI or any DUI-related offense in California, speak at once to an experienced DUI defense attorney. A number of effective legal defenses are possible in these cases, and a good DUI defense lawyer can often have these kinds of charges reduced or dismissed entirely. If you’re charged with DUI or you’re charged as the result of any DUI incident, protect yourself. Get the legal help you need and contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at once.