Many drivers in California know that they cannot drink alcohol and operate a vehicle legally. But what about just having a drink in your car if you aren’t driving? Are you allowed to drink in your car if it’s turned off?
Legally, you are able to drink alcohol in a vehicle that isn’t running. However, you should know that police officers may conclude that you were previously drinking and driving in this situation. Find out more about the risks of drinking in a car that isn’t turned on with this article.
The Legalities of Drinking in a Car That Is Off
Sitting in a vehicle and drinking alcohol if you are not driving and the car is not in operation is not – technically – a violation of the law in California. However, drinking and driving is against the law. You may face charges for driving under the influence (DUI) even if a police officer does not see you operating the vehicle in some cases.
A law enforcement officer could claim they have good reason to believe you committed a DUI. Officers who find you sitting in a vehicle and drinking may want to see if your keys are in the ignition. They may check to see if the hood of your vehicle is still warm.
This means you could face DUI charges just for sitting in the car and drinking alcohol. However, police officers may want to test your blood alcohol content (BAC) before they make a DUI arrest.
BAC Tests and DUI Charges in California
The state of California has implied consent laws tied to BAC testing. This means that you must always complete BAC testing after you are legally arrested. Refusal to take a BAC test could lead to the suspension of your driver’s license. You may choose to take a(n):
- Breath test.
- Blood test.
- Urine test.
Note that some drivers are also required to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test before an arrest. You must legally take this test if you are under the age of 21 or on DUI probation. Failing to take a legally ordered test could have serious consequences for you. Officers use BAC tests to determine if you are over the legal limit.
Most of the time, California requires drivers to keep their BAC under 0.08%. However, you need a lower BAC in some situations. You could face an arrest if your BAC is at or above 0.04% if you are a commercial driver. Drivers under 21 must keep their BAC under 0.01%.
Discuss BAC testing in the state of California with a DUI lawyer. Just call (310) 997-4688.
Understand the Results of a DUI Conviction in California
The state of California takes DUI charges very seriously. This means that you could face a number of severe penalties after a DUI arrest. This is true even if you were not caught drinking and driving at the time of your arrest. Some of the results of a DUI include:
- Court fines
- Time in jail
- DUI school
California may also order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) after a DUI conviction. IIDs are small devices that work like breathalyzers. They attach to the steering column of your vehicle. You must breathe into them each time you want to drive. They will not let your vehicle turn on if your BAC is elevated.
Take Charge After a DUI Charge for Drinking in a Vehicle
You don’t have to just accept a DUI charge if you were arrested after sitting in a vehicle and drinking alcohol. A lawyer could work to build a defense for you right away. Your lawyer may work to show that you did not operate the vehicle. Your lawyer may also argue that your BAC was not elevated at the time that you drove.
You may end up getting your charges reduced or dismissed with a DUI lawyer. Your lawyer could also defend you in court. Start working on your claim today with the Simmrin Law Group.
Find Out if You Can Drink in Your Car if It’s Off in California
You may, sometimes, drink in your car if it’s off. However, each time you take this action, you run the risk that a police officer could arrest you for a DUI. If you were arrested, you may contact the Simmrin Law Group for help. It’s easy to reach us. Just call (310) 997-4688 or fill out our online contact form.
Discuss your defense now with a free consultation.