ASK A COP — What are Texas’ rules on open alcohol containers in moving vehicles?
Published 1:24 pm Monday, December 12, 2022
From the desk of the Chief of Police Tim Duriso and all of the hard working men and women of the Port Arthur Police Department:
We want to extend to all citizens whom we dutifully serve a Merry Christmas. We hope and pray that you and your family are able to fully enjoy and bond closer during this season. Here are some of the Port Arthur Police Department Holiday safety reminders. It’s been estimated that more than 161 million adults or roughly 63 percent of our motorist population will hit the roads during this holiday season, which is scheduled to be the busiest ever recorded. Please drive safe. If you plan to party with adult beverages, plan your safe transportation, as well. While shopping be aware of your surroundings. Don’t place packages on seats. Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Ladies, don’t carry your purse by hand. If possible, carry it on your shoulder or across your body. Have keys in your hand exiting business. Park in well lighted areas. Lastly, don’t allow ANY strangers to approach you!
Arthur from Nederland asks: I was riding home from work a few weeks ago with a co-worker, and he stopped at a gas station and picked up a beer. My eyebrows went up because I’m totally against drinking and driving. He then opened the can of beer, and that’s when my mouth went into gear. I told him, among other things, “you can go to jail for drinking and driving.” That’s when he started laughing saying he can’t be taken to jail for drinking and driving because, at that point, he’s just started drinking. He told me I needed to chill down and asked if I wanted some of his beer! I know several people who have been arrested for drinking and driving. Have I fallen into a dark hole where I’ve been suspended in time? Is driving while drinking still illegal in Texas?
Answer: It seems you may need a little tweaking about the driving while drinking law in Texas. No one should consume any amount of an alcoholic beverage and drive a motor vehicle. Your co-worker was wrong and right in his behavior and answer the other day. You are right. It is illegal to consume or be in possession of any open container of an alcoholic beverage while in a motor vehicle in Texas. With that said, your co-worker was right, being that he just got off work and it’s safe to say after a few sips of the beer, he was NOT intoxicated. Not many motorists are aware of the two violations someone can’t be arrested for while being a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle. Apparently your co-worker is aware of one, and that’s having an open container of alcohol while in a motor vehicle. This is definitely not a green light to drink and drive because it is still illegal, but if you’re not intoxicated you can NOT be arrested for the open container of alcohol beverage. I stand with the state of Texas and the motto “Don’t Drink and Drive!” Don’t do it because most motorists can’t judge their point to stop the consumption of alcohol beverages before they get behind the wheel. Annually, statistics have proven the dangers of the deadly act of driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. Let’s be the opposite of NIKE and say “JUST DON’T DO IT!!”
Lenny from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, my coworker and I are at odds over a turning issue. We would like you to end this debate for us. When turning right at a red light, when there’s no traffic coming, can I turn without stopping all the way? I always look for other vehicles on the roadway before committing the turn. Does a vehicle have to come to a complete stop before turning at a traffic signal if no other vehicles are near that intersection?
Answer: In Texas you must come to a complete stop when turning right on a red light. Yes, you can turn right at a red light, but that’s only after you have brought your vehicle to a complete stop. In reality, the red light must be treated like a stop sign, meaning you must yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling that direction while the light is red, before you attempt a right turn at a red light. Traffic signal intersections are dangerous and deadly when the signals aren’t obeyed by motorists.
Mable from Port Arthur asks: Can an ex-felon own a firearm if he/she keeps it in the home for personal protection? I heard you must complete five years post discharge of probation or parole.
Answer: This is true according to the state of Texas laws, but federal laws are much more expansive in terms of prohibiting convicted felon persons from possessing firearms than Texas laws. Firearm possession by an ex-felon is still a federal violation, and ex-felons are still subject to federal prosecution. Federal law says a person convicted of a felony grade crime can NEVER be in possession of a firearm! One way for any person to be clear to own a firearm would be a presidential pardon, and they are very difficult to obtain. Texas law says YES, but federal law says NO. So the decision is up to the individual, and I would recommend anyone to consult an attorney who specializes in such issues.
Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for at least 2 hours from 1 to 3 p.m. Tune in and listen as Antoine discusses the newly released “Ask A Cop.” Tune in via the internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. Ask a question via TEXT at 409-748-6106. Email questions to email@example.com or call 409-983-8673 and leave a voice mail. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”