Using a personal drink container on your outings saves money and reduces waste. Although they are convenient and popular, the police know that reusable containers sometimes hide secrets.
During DUI traffic stops, police officers may request or perhaps even demand to search your closed drink containers. The question for many is: do they have a right to take a look?
Fewer privacy rights in public
During a DUI stop, the police will ask standard questions like how much you’ve had to drink and where you are going. If they spot a reusable container in your vehicle, they may ask you to hand it over for inspection.
Since law enforcement is responsible for the safety of citizens, they can typically search for alcohol when they have cause to suspect drunk driving. For example, if you were weaving through traffic lanes or driving too slowly, they might have legal grounds to examine your container.
You can say no
You also have rights as a Texas citizen, such as protecting your privacy and personal property. You may deny a request to look in your container, even if it is empty or contains water.
Police officers could search the bottle anyway, but you will have gone on record expressly denying the request. Your denial could form the basis for a successful illegal search defense, improving your situation substantially.
You never know when the things that happen in a traffic stop or arrest could play a positive role in your case. That is why it always serves your best interests to explore the DUI defense options available in Texas.