What Happens to the Passengers When Someone is Arrested for DUI?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Nov 05, 2016 | 0 Comments

In most circumstances, the passenger in a vehicle is not responsible for the actions of a driver.  When a person is arrested for DUI, the police will determine if any other person is sober enough to drive.  If so, the police will release the vehicle to someone else able to drive,

Otherwise, the police will tow the vehicle and help transport the passengers to a safe location or assist them to call for a ride.  Most police officers will also provide information to passengers about how they can start the bonding process for their friend or loved-one.  

Passengers Who Get Themselves Arrested:

Sometimes passengers are also arrested during the DUI arrest of another person. Three of the most common situations are when the police find drugs, or an obstruction charge, or for the crime of allowing another person to drive intoxicated.  


When a passenger is in joint possession of contraband, they can be charged with the driver for possession of drugs.  Joint possession can be established when drugs are found in the center console or under a seat.  Also, joint possession of narcotics can be proven when more than one person admits ownership of the controlled substance.


When someone sees a person he or she cares about getting arrested, sometimes it causes that person to lose their self-control.  Once a police officer decides to make an arrest, you are not going to change his mind.  The best thing you can do is to stay calm, call a lawyer, and make arrangements to make bond.  Otherwise, you may be charged with obstruction, meaning to interfere with the lawful duties of a police officer.  Always remember that if you believe an arrest is unfair or unlawful, that can be proven during the defense in court.

Allowing an intoxicated person to drive:

This charge is fairly rare.  It is unlawful to encourage another person to drive impaired.  My experience is that this charge is used when a police officer is annoyed at the passenger and decides to create a charge against him or her.  Keeping one's mouth shut during the DUI arrest of someone is the best way to avoid being accused of this offense.

Moral of the Story:

If you are arrested at the same time as the driver you are with, there will be no one left to bond you both out.  Stay calm, and be there to help your friend or loved one when they are arrested.   

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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