Girls drinking and driving

Can Passengers Face Charges in OWI Arrests

Those arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges could face stiff penalties; which begs the question, can OWI passengers face charges as well? Let’s take a look at some circumstances where passengers could be charged.

Open Container Laws

Open container laws make it illegal for people to possess open alcoholic beverages in vehicles. While it’s no surprise that this law applies to drivers, it also applies to passengers.

Therefore, it is illegal for passengers to have open containers of alcohol in their possession, which means passengers could face open container charges if they are holding alcoholic beverages when a driver is arrested for OWI.

Now let’s look at another charge passengers may face: disorderly person.

Disorderly Person Charges

Michigan law defines disorderly persons in several ways, but let’s look at one definition in particular. A disorderly person is, “A person who is intoxicated in a public place and who is either endangering directly the safety of another person or of property or is acting in a manner that causes a public disturbance.”

Based on this definition, passengers can be arrested if they are drunk and causing a scene during an OWI arrest. Therefore, if a friend is pulled over for an OWI, it’s best to act cordially, especially if you’re a little buzzed.

As you can see, passengers can face criminal charges during an OWI arrest, however, you don’t have to fight these charges on your own.

Have You Been Charged?

White Law PLLC is an award-winning criminal defense firm that knows how to get results for its clients. If you or a loved one has been charged with a Michigan OWI, you have the right hire experienced representation for your case.

Call (517) 316-1195 now for a free consultation for your case.