When a driver drinks too much and is pulled over by the police, he or she may face a charge for DUI. Although the driver may face DUI charges, the question remains as to whether the passengers in a DUI situation can be held accountable as well.
In situations where a driver is pulled over for a DUI, and the passengers are underage and drunk, the passengers can be charged with underage drinking. In Colorado, a minor convicted of underage drinking is likely to face the following consequences:
Other possible consequences include:
If passengers are drunk when a driver is charged with a DUI, in some states, the passengers can be charged with public intoxication. However, in Colorado, public intoxication is not an illegal act, and therefore, drunk passengers in a DUI scenario in Colorado cannot be charged with public intoxication.
If a passenger in a DUI scenario has an open container in the car, he or she and the driver will be charged with a class A traffic infraction (an infraction is not considered a crime.)
Consequences of a class A traffic infraction include:
In specific scenarios, a drunk passenger who touches the wheel while the car is in motion is considered to have “driven a car while under the influence.” Therefore, if a drunk passenger grabs a steering wheel and causes an accident, he or she is likely to be charged with DUI or DWAI depending on the amount of alcohol in their system when the police take a report. Therefore, a passenger can be charged with a DUI, but the circumstances are particularly specific.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI, DWAI, or underage drinking, Attorney Kevin Cahill can help. Call (720) 548-2990 for a free consultation concerning your case.