Under the California Vehicle Code, it is illegal to drive with an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, even if the driver is not consuming the alcohol. Usually, this offense is categorized as an infraction which is only punishable by a fine. However, some aggravating circumstances can increase this offense to a misdemeanor which could remain on your criminal record permanently. If the driver or passenger was under the age of 21 and was caught violating this law, they could be charged $1,000 and put in jail for up to six months.
If you were accused of this crime, there are several ways you could defend yourself against these harsh penalties. First, if the alcohol was in the trunk, you should not be charged. Also, a hired car like a taxi or limo could add to your defense. In some cases, the law enforcement officer may have failed to follow procedure when pulling you over. For example, if they did not have probable cause to pull you over or performed an illegal search and seizure, all evidence they found against you could be thrown out. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from our team could help get your charges dropped. Contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney from our team today to learn more.