ASK A COP — Who is at fault when a passenger has alcohol?
Published 12:06 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Don from Port Arthur asks: Let’s say I’m driving my vehicle and my friend, who’s in the passenger seat, has a yeti cooler-type of cup that you can’t see the beverage inside. If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him 50 times, I’m not getting in trouble behind him and his drinking. If passengers were coming to my car with a can or bottle of alcoholic beverage, I would definitely stop that, but because they have poured it in the yeti-type cup, I’m not to the point where I’m going to ask them what’s in the cup. I told him if we get stopped, I’m not getting in trouble for them. Who would get the ticket or get arrested? Would it be the driver or the passenger that has the open container?
Answer: In the state of Texas, open containers of alcohol are illegal. Whether it’s the passenger or the driver of a motor vehicle, we cannot possess an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. No matter if it’s disguised by being poured into a cup, or still in this original container. It is still illegal if the seal has been broken. In your case, the passenger would be the one who receives the citation by the police officer. The passenger cannot be arrested because open container law is one of the two laws that you cannot be arrested for in the Transportation Code in state of Texas. So the police officer has to remove the alcoholic beverage from the vehicle and issue the PASSENGER, NOT DRIVER a citation.
Jasper from Nederland asks: I recently read your article where you spoke very clearly about the dangers of texting while driving, in which I agree with you 100 percent. With that said, I think an equal danger on the roads are drivers who allow their dogs to be all over their body while driving, mostly having their head and legs out of the driver’s window. I’m not an animal hater, I have two wonderful fur friends, but they’re not allowed to be on me while driving. Is having a dog all over the driver a distraction and is this legal?
Answer: Dogs in the lap of motorists while they’re operating a motor vehicle is definitely a distraction. Keep in mind, laws are made only after something happens, so in the state of Texas, I thank God nothing monumental has occurred to someone because a dog was sitting on the driver’s lap. Therefore there’s no such law in Texas that requires a dog to wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a crate while a motor vehicle is being driven. Only Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have laws that enforce the safe crating or restraining of a dog while they are being transported in a motor vehicle. I must say I’m not a hater of our furry friends, but I, like you, have trained my dogs to sit down while in a motor vehicle. Let’s hope we NEVER have to make this a law in Texas!
David from Port Arthur asks: My annual vacation that I take back to my family is quickly approaching and I have a problem. My inspection/registration sticker will be expired upon my return and I don’t want to be fined because I’ll be late renewing my registration sticker upon my return. How long after my registration sticker expires do I have before I’m penalized?
Answer: Since Texas has gone to the one sticker process for inspection and registration of motor vehicles, there have been many questions regarding the renewal process. There’s no automatic penalty that is assessed to you when you purchase your registration sticker late, unless you received a citation for expired registration before you actually renewed you vehicle’s registration. The state of Texas allows you to have your vehicle inspection completed up to 90 days before your registration is due. So David you can go get your vehicle inspected now and pick up a registration before your vacation. There’s no need to worry about your sticker upon your return home.
Join Me, Officer 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 every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and beyond. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. You can also email questions to email@example.com or leave a voicemail at 409-983-8673. Mail them to Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always “Ask A Cop!”