16 June 2015
The busyness of summer creates ample opportunities for fun with friends and neighbors. But a quick decision in a hurried moment can lead to painful consequences if laws are broken. And sometimes well-intentioned folks don’t even realize what they’re doing is illegal. On the flip side, some people fret over actions that are actually not against the law.
With this in mind, the Fluvanna Review
assembled a summer law survival guide so folks could know how to keep their fun safe and legal – and not worry about things that in reality are just fine.Open containers
The phone rings. Your friend wants you to come over for a spontaneous get-together at his house. Before you leave you grab your bottle of gin. It’d be fun to mix up some martinis for your buddies. Suddenly you pause. The bottle has been opened – you had some the other night. Can you bring it with you in the car? Or will you get busted?
The answer is yes, you can bring it, but close it up tightly and put it in the trunk. Think of it as you would a firearm, said Jeff Haislip, Fluvanna County commonwealth’s attorney. Is it within reach? Is it out of the way of the driver? If it’s in the passenger seat or even the backseat you could be in trouble if you get pulled over.
Many times deputies run into folks who have been drinking and there’s an open container in the car, Haislip said. The driver has access to it but claims it’s the passenger’s. “You can’t really expect the officer on the side of the road to decide whose it is and whose word to take for it,” he said. “So the safest thing to do is pop it in the trunk.”
No one in a car may drink – not just the driver. “The officer can’t be in a position of believing whether someone handed it over the seat or whether the driver had it,” Haislip said. “If you can’t wait until you’re at a restaurant or at a friend’s house to have a drink then you probably have bigger problems.”Serving alcohol to kids
“What are you drinking, mom?” your daughter asks.
“Beer,” you answer.
“Can I try it?” she says. And now you have a dilemma.