One of the stranger stories related to DWIs recently came out of Bryan, Texas. In that story it was reported that a Texas A&M student was arrested for DWI after crashing into a parked police car. What was strange about this story was how it came about.
According to the police report, the woman was taking a topless selfie that she intended to send to her boyfriend. She was at a red light at the time, but apparently went forward when she ran into a parked police squad car. When the police officer arrived, the student was putting her shirt back on.
Following the crash, the police officer began investigating the woman for DWI. As he began, he noticed an open bottle of wine in the drink holder of the car, and then had the woman conduct a field sobriety test. Once she failed she was placed under arrest for DWI.
Open Container Laws in Texas
It is clear that drinking and driving is illegal in Texas, but there are other laws related to our DWI laws in the Penal Code. The open container law that prohibits a driver from being in a vehicle at the same time as an open container with any alcohol in it at all will likely be implicated here.
This law is found in the same section of the Penal Code as the DWI laws. Under the law, an open container is defined as any container of an alcoholic beverage with a broken seal, one that has been opened, or from which the contents have been removed. An interesting provision of the law is that you do not need to be driving to be convicted of open container.
The vehicle portion of the law simply states that the open container of alcohol must be in a passenger area of the vehicle at the same time as a driver. If the driver knowingly possessed it there, than a conviction would likely happen. And it does not matter whether the car is driving, parked, or stopped, but there are also some exceptions to the law.
The open container law does not apply in the following situations. When it is found in a locked glove compartment, trunk of the car, or behind the farthest back passenger seat where there is not a trunk. This exception would apply to cars like hatchbacks, and other similar models.
DWIs Can Be Complicated
The truth about DWIs in Texas is that they are rarely left at single DWI charges. Often there will be a related charge, like open container, and that calls for a robust and vigorous defense. One of the main reasons prosecutors like to add charges is to try and muscle a defendant into taking a plea deal and not take the case to trial.
At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm, DWI and related trials are one of our main areas of work. We are not afraid to take your case to trial in order to achieve the results your case deserves. If you are charged with DWI in the Dallas and surrounding areas, contact us. We will give you a free case evaluation today.