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Can Passengers Be Charged When a Driver Is Pulled Over for DUI?

We have all seen a movie where a couple of friends are drinking and joyriding when a cop shows up and arrests the driver. The driver is charged with a DUI, but the movie doesn’t show if the passengers are charged with anything. In real life, passengers can be charged with a couple of things during a DUI arrest.

DUI

Although not common, a passenger in a DUI arrest can also be charged for a DUI. The passenger must legally become a driver to be charged with a DUI. Traffic laws state that anyone who touches the wheel while the car is in motion is a driver of a vehicle. Therefore, if a passenger touches the steering wheel while the car is in motion and the cops hear/find out about, the passenger and the driver can both be charged for a DUI.

Public Intoxication & Disturbing the Peace

In Nevada, there is no law against public intoxication; therefore, a passenger cannot be charged just for being drunk. While people are safe from being charged for public intoxication, they can still be charged for disturbing the peace. If you “disturb the peace” in your drunken state as a passenger during a DUI arrest, you could be charged for disturbing the peace. Therefore, it’s always best to stay silent and comply with the police officers’ requests during a DUI arrest.

Underage Drinking

During a DUI arrest, anyone in the car who is underage and found to have a BAC level over the legal limit for minors will probably face a charge for underage drinking. Underage drinking is illegal no matter where someone sits in a vehicle, and since the police have the right to pull over the driver for a DUI, they also have the right to test passengers for their BAC and to check their IDs.

As you can see, passengers can face charges during a DUI arrest. If you or a loved one have been arrested for a DUI or any of charges mentioned above, contact attorney Kenneth Stover at (775) 502-1575 for a free consultation of your case.

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