I had a question regarding an open bottle charge as a passenger. We got pulled over for having a tail light that was out that we didn't know about. The officer smelled alcohol as both driver and myself were drinking. The driver passed tests except blew .01 over the limit in MN. He was also given a ticket for expired license and no proof of insurance. The car was a company vehicle not in our name and when the officer searched the truck he found 2 empty beer cans under my seat which I had no idea that were there - I got an open bottle ticket. I went in for a court date and the prosecutor was willing to reduce the open bottle down to a pedi misdemeanor instead of a misdemeanor but I gave him no plea and set up another court date since the ticket is $185 and I can't afford that. I just wanted to know if I could be convicted of the open bottle charge even though the containers weren't mine and I wasn't drinking in the vehicle. I don't want a misdemeanor charge on my record either so don't know if it was smart not to take the bargain the prosecutor offered me when I had the chance. What will my next court date look like? Will the prosecutor offer me another reductions before I have to see the judge? I ultimately want to know if I can get this entire thing dropped. Thanks!
1 Answer from Attorneys
The government should have to prove that you knowingly possessed the open bottle. You can have an attorney challenge probable cause for you. Preferably you should hire a private lawyer. If that's not possible, then apply for a public defender at your next court date.