Riding with someone who is driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to legal complications. Considering what happens if you are a passenger in a DUI can be easier if you have the help of legal professionals.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you consider possible outcomes for passengers during a DUI arrest. Consider some charges you might face and your legal options in California with this article. You can get legal help if you face criminal charges by calling (310) 997-4688.
Outcomes for a Sober Passenger in a DUI
You may face a number of consequences if you are a passenger in a DUI arrest. You will generally be questioned at the scene of the arrest or collision. A law enforcement officer may also work to determine if you are intoxicated or sober.
Law enforcement officers may measure your sobriety in the field. In most cases, you will not be charged with a DUI even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit. If you are found to be sober and the driver is not, you may be allowed to drive their vehicle away after they are arrested.
In the aftermath of a DUI arrest, you may be called to testify in court against the driver, since you were in a position to see their state of inebriation first-hand.
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Outcomes for an Inebriated Passenger in a DUI
You may face more complicated repercussions if your BAC is elevated, even if you are a passenger in a vehicle. Note that, in California, you should only be charged with a DUI if you:
- Physically operate a motor vehicle
- While under the influence of drugs or alcohol
It is difficult to meet this definition of a DUI from the passenger seat. However, sometimes it happens, especially if a passenger reaches across and manipulates the steering wheel. If that happened, you could face DUI charges in the state of California.
You might also face other criminal charges not associated with operating a vehicle under the influence. Depending upon your age, you could be accused of:
- Public drunkenness
- Drinking under the age of 21
- Carrying an open alcoholic beverage in a vehicle
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you handle any of these charges. Call (310) 997-4688 to start building a strong defense.
Determining Who Operated a Vehicle During a DUI Arrest
You should also be aware that sometimes law enforcement officers are unsure who was driving a vehicle. This is especially common if you were involved in a DUI collision. Everyone in the vehicle may have gotten out by the time police officers arrive, leading to confusion about who was driving.
Police officers often work to determine the driver’s identity by:
- Speaking with witnesses who saw the accident
- Considering injuries sustained by the driver and passenger
- Looking at the position of seats in the car
In many cases, this investigation allows officers to determine who was actually operating the vehicle. However, you may be falsely accused of operating a vehicle even if you were only a passenger. In this situation, it’s important that you reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles as quickly as possible.
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Get Help If You Were a Passenger in a DUI
You can face a number of legal challenges if you drove with a friend who operated a vehicle while inebriated. Fortunately, you do not have to handle these charges on your own. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can assist you today.
It is highly recommended that you speak with a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles before discussing any charges you are facing. You should not speak with prosecutors or law enforcement officers before you get professional help in your corner. Everything you say could be used against you or the driver in the DUI.
Our team can work aggressively to protect your rights and build your defense. We’ll work to show that you were not operating the vehicle at the time of the DUI. DUI lawyers can also dispute allegations that you reached across the center console to move the steering wheel.
You can even contact us if you are facing other charges related to alcohol use. Allow us to go over your unique legal needs now, so we can construct your defense in California.
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Speak to a DUI Lawyer if You Were a Passenger in a DUI
Determining what happens if you are a passenger in a DUI can be easier with the experts at the Simmrin Law Group. We’re ready to go over charges you could face and your legal defenses now. Learn more with a FREE initial case evaluation from our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles.
You can complete our online contact form or call (310) 997-4688 or get started.