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RayAnswers, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  licensed attorney in Texas for 29 years
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A few days ago I got an open container ticket in ...

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A few days ago I got an open container ticket in Minneosta. I had a half full bottle of vodka in a zipped up back pack between my legs in the back seat of a station wagon. The driver got pulled over for dui and my backpack was searched. I was merely transporting the bottle and there was no trunk because it was a station wagon (although I should have had the bag as far back as possible). I would like to fight the ticket. Also the officer wrote the wrong date on the ticket. I''ve heard of this being relevent but I don''t know if this will get me anywhere. What is the best way to fight this and do I have a chance of getting the charges dropped?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 6 years ago.

My sympathy to you for your situation. The law in Minnesota is pretty strict on the matter.Open container laws prohibit the possession of any open alcoholic beverage container and the consumption of any alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a motor vehicle.

In your case the fact that there is no trunk doesn't matter, you had it within the passenger area. The fact that the driver got dui does not help either, it is probably the most harmful fact to your case as it supports that you guys were drinking in the passenger area of the car.

That being said the wrong date might be a legitimate defense, be prepared to show proof that you weren't there on the ticketed date and where you were on that date. You will need a lawyer if you want to properly contest this ticket. Honestly the bad date is the best and only technical argument that I can see here on the facts presented.

In my mind you may want the attorney to explore your plea options because aside from the date issue they got you here. The fact that its a station wagon won't help and neither does the dui with the driver. If you get something you can live with I would tell you to seriously consider pleading. I hope that this gives you some ideas on the matter and good luck..

Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it's associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with legal counsel for accurate information.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply toCustomers Post: Thank you for your response. I will gladly accept the charges pending one more clarification.
On the ticket I was sited for Minnesota 169A.35 (2) which states
Subd. 2. Drinking and consumption; crime described. It is a crime for a person to drink
or consume an alcoholic beverage, distilled spirit, or 3.2 percent malt liquor in a motor vehicle
when the vehicle is upon a street or highway.
Whereas the subd 3. says Possession; crime described. It is a crime for a person to have in possession, while in a private motor vehicle upon a street or highway, any bottle or receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or the seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.
Can they really prove that I was drinking in the car? (I actually wasn’t) because they didn’t site me for subd 3 - possession of an open bottle (or am I reading that wrong)

Secondly given the information I’ve given you do you feel it would be worth it to try to fight the date technicality or should I just plead guilty. Ironically enough the night which the date the ticket was written for (the previous day), I was at a party to which the same cops were present at. I could get about 20 signitures however saying I was there and there are time stamped pictures.

In your opinion is it worth it risk/reward to fight this based on a date technicality?
Thank you so much for your help I assure you that you will be paid.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 6 years ago.

I would agree with you that appears to be the wrong subsection. They will have to get the officer to fudge and say either he saw you drinking of that he smelled alcohol, etc on you. It's an argument. I also have seen them allow the cop to change a date on the ticket although it is blatantly wrong to let them do it. You have a couple of in my mind good arguments here, perhaps you should raise these when you're negotiating to see if they'll reduce or give you a better deal on this. you can decide from there what is best for you..good luck..

 

Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it's associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with legal counsel for accurate information.

RayAnswers, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 29199
Experience: licensed attorney in Texas for 29 years
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