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Is the Passenger Liable for a DUI?

You and your partner leave the bar earlier than you expected. You didn’t drink, but you’re not feeling well, so you don’t notice that your friend probably isn’t safe to drive. It’s not long before you see the police lights in the rearview mirror. Now you wonder whether a passenger can be liable for a DUI.

Are Passengers Responsible?

Every US state puts the burden of sobriety on the person operating the vehicle. Passengers have no responsibility to be sober. That means police will not try to arrest you. In fact, they may try to coax information out of you.

Should Passengers Answer Questions?

“You’re not in trouble.” Is the first thing most police will say. They want to put you at ease so you’re more likely to answer questions relating to the driver’s case. Police may ask how much the other person has been drinking, how long they were driving, and other testimony that could hurt the driver’s defense.

You have no duty to answer questions. You can politely refuse without fear of being charged. Again, passengers are not liable for a DUI. However, you may be contacted by the district attorney once formal charges are filed.

What About the Car?

After most DUIs, the police either impound the car or allow the driver to call someone who can pick it up. If your driver is charged with a DUI, you drive the car to a safe place, provided you have their permission and a valid license.

However, if you are under the influence, the police may tell you to get a ride from a friend or call a rideshare. They are unlikely to provide you transportation when you’re not under arrest, especially if you refused to answer questions.

If you’re facing DUI charges, you may want to speak with an attorney. If you’d like an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney from Hubbs Law to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (305) 570-4802.

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