Here is a story that many sports fans can relate to: Your team has just lost another game in the midst of a terrible season, so you decide to drown your sorrows by having a few drinks. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this. But if you decide to get behind the wheel, still holding a half-empty bottle of liquor, then you could easily find yourself in serious legal trouble.
This is apparently what happened to one particularly dejected New York Jets fan following a November 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Associated Press reported that police in Wayne, New Jersey, responded to a rear-end car accident around 5:15 p.m. that day. Officers noticed that the driver of the rear vehicle “had an open bottle of whiskey” in his car. When questioned about it, the man replied, “I drank too much because the Jets suck.”
The officers charged the man with DWI and assault by auto under New Jersey law.
Two Key Lessons
So what can we learn from this story? First, do not have an open bottle of whiskey–or any other type of intoxicating liquor–in the passenger area of your car. Even if you are not drunk, you can still be charged with possessing an open container under Texas law, which is a Class C misdemeanor. And keep in mind, you do not have to be involved in an accident like the New Jersey man above, or even technically driving your car, for Texas law enforcement to cite you. In this state, it is a violation to simply possess an open container at any time while your vehicle is on a public road. So even if you pull over to the shoulder, if an officer sees a half-empty beer can or liquor bottle in your car, you can still be charged with an open container violation.
The second lesson here is that while you might think it is funny to tell the police, “I drank too much because the Jets suck,” in reality what you are doing is providing evidence that will be used against you later in court. No judge or jury is going to look the other way on a DWI because your team just lost a game. There is a reason that criminal defense lawyers constantly tell their clients to remain silent when questioned by police, and it is because of situations like this. Even flippant “jokes” can be taken into account when police decide to make an arrest. This is why the best thing you can do is say nothing.
Speak with a Houston Defense Lawyer for Open Container Violations Today
While you should not speak to the police following a DWI arrest, you should speak with an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can more fully advise you of your rights and how to deal with the legal system moving forward. If you need immediate assistance, contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates in Houston, Galveston, or League City today.