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ASK A COP — Can previously opened alcohol containers be in cars?

Johnnie from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, during the holidays, or anytime as a matter of fact, I sometimes haul alcohol in my vehicle to go to a friend’s house for an adult beverage get together. If after I’m done with the get together — and trust me I have a designated driver because I plan on being intoxicated — and there’s some extra beverage left in bottles, can I bring the alcohol home since it’s been opened? Would it be illegal to put the opened alcohol in my car?

Answer: I’m glad you’re not chancing driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated. We wish many others would plan as responsibly as you are by having a DESIGNATED DRIVER. You don’t have to pour out your alcohol or leave it behind at your friend’s house as long as you have the opened container in the trunk, locked glove box or behind the last row of seats if there’s no trunk compartment. Keep in mind this is not an endorsement for adults partaking in alcoholic beverages; just helping you understand the law. If you have an open container, keep it secured away from the driver and all passengers in the vehicle. Always drink alcoholic beverages responsibly and keep in mind the state of Texas slogan: “buzz driving is drunk driving!”

Janice from Port Neches asks: I was in the parking lot at a mall in Houston during the holiday and observed several parking violations. I scratched my head saying they couldn’t get away with that at home (Port Arthur/Beaumont area). There must have been a meeting of the rich and famous at the mall, because about 10 very expensive vehicles were parked and took up a whole row of parking. I understand they are proud of their vehicles, but that was unnecessary for them to take up all of the space. I even saw a police officer pass by but didn’t even write tickets or take any action. What is the penalty for such parking?

Answer: The penalty for the parking situation you described in Houston is BAD PARKING! There’s no law in Texas that regulates this type of parking. It’s private property, so the only entity that can enforce BAD PARKING behavior is the management of said property. As long as a FIRE lane or DISABLED parking spot wasn’t overtaken by such parking, police officers’ hands are pretty much tied on enforcement of any law. With that said, the exact same thing could have happened in Port Arthur or any city in Texas unless management steps in.

Mike from Bridge City asks: I thought Texas had a no texting law in place that prohibits drivers of these cars from texting while behind the wheel. It seems like every day, especially at red lights, people’s heads are buried in those darn phones. It’s almost like Texas doesn’t have a law addressing such behavior. In my opinion, texting and driving is out of control. Can Texas install cameras at red lights to catch these drivers messing with their cellphones while stopped at the light?

Answer: I can understand your frustration about drivers’ inattentiveness behind the wheel on the roads of Texas. Distracted driving is no joke, and every lawmaker and law enforcement agency across the state of Texas should make every effort to address this issue. The safety of all motorists on our roadway is paramount and adding the cellphone distractions only compromises our safety goal. But Mike, I believe you are lacking understanding about the Texas Texting law. While you are correct, texting while driving is a violation in Texas, the same law allows for motorists to text at red lights while the vehicle is not in motion. I’m not in agreement with the allowance of texting while the vehicle is on a roadway, but I only enforce laws. The next time you’re at a traffic signal and look over and someone has their head buried in their cellphone, remember they’re NOT breaking the texting law in Texas.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as he discusses the newly released Ask A Cop article. Call in your question live at 409-982-0247. Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!