Can you drink alcohol in your car if it’s off? You are not allowed to drink alcohol while driving in California. However, you may sometimes avoid a ticket if you are only sitting in a vehicle while drinking alcohol in Los Angeles.
Yet there are exceptions to this rule. You may still face a ticket if a police officer has reason to believe that you were breaking California law by driving under the influence (DUI) previously. Find out more about drinking in a car with this article.
Information About Drinking in a Car in California
Technically, it is against the law to drink and drive in California. It’s also illegal to carry an open container of alcohol in an operating vehicle. However, there are no specific laws against drinking alcohol in a vehicle you don’t plan to drive.
That said, you may face DUI charges if you are sitting in a vehicle if it is running. Even sitting in a vehicle with the keys in the ignition may be enough to convince a police officer that you were committing a DUI. Officers may assume that you were recently driving a car if:
- The hood of the car is warm.
- You are in the driver’s seat.
- The keys are in the ignition.
They may use this information to charge you with a DUI, even though they did not see you driving. They could claim that there is evidence you were committing a DUI, which could result in criminal charges. In this situation, you may contact a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles. Call us at (310) 862-0199 to start getting help on your side.
Tests for DUI Charges in Los Angeles
You may face DUI charges if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit in California. There are several different limits used for drivers. You may need to keep your BAC below:
- 0.08% if you are a non-commercial driver over 21.
- 0.04% if you are a commercial driver over 21.
- 0.01% if you are a driver under 21.
Police officers may ask you to take a breathalyzer test if they find you in a vehicle and believe you were drinking and driving. You may sometimes refuse a PAS (preliminary alcohol screening) test. However, you must take this assessment if you are under 21 or on DUI probation.
You must legally complete BAC testing after an arrest in California. All drivers give informed consent to take these tests when they drive a vehicle. Refusal to take a legally ordered BAC test could result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
Facts About DUI Charges in Los Angeles
Police officers could cite you with a DUI if they believe you operated a vehicle while under the influence. You may face misdemeanor charges for most DUI offenses in Los Angeles. A conviction could result in the following penalties:
- Jail time
- Time in DUI school
- The installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
A DUI conviction also stays on your record for several years. These convictions count against you if you are accused of subsequent DUIs in Los Angeles. You face higher penalties each time you are convicted of a DUI within a 10-year period. Fortunately, a DUI lawyer may help you meet these charges head-on.
Build a Defense if You Were Drinking in Your Car
Let’s say that you were charged with a DUI for drinking in your car while it was off. You may reach out to a lawyer for help handling these accusations. Your lawyer may work to show that:
- You did not operate the vehicle while impaired.
- Police officers had no reason to approach your vehicle.
- You were subject to an illegal vehicle search.
Taking these steps could help your lawyer get your charges reduced or even dismissed. A lawyer may negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf to possibly secure you a plea bargain. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer can also support you in court. Find out more about your options in this situation with a law firm in our area.
Ask a Lawyer if You Can Drink While Your Car Is Off
Can you drink alcohol in your vehicle if it’s turned off? Legally, you may be able to sit in a vehicle and drink some alcohol. However, you could face DUI charges if a police officer believes you were drinking and driving. In this situation, you may reach out to a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles for assistance. Find out how by contacting us for a free consultation.
Call us at (310) 862-0199 or complete our online contact form to get help now.