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Can I Get in Legal Trouble as a Designated Driver?

Everyone knows that drinking and driving are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs due to the potential for injuring oneself and others along with the legal consequences of a DUI conviction. For these reasons, most people will try to enlist a designated driver if they are going out for a night of drinking.

While the designated driver is going to be a good samaritan and sacrifice their drinking for the safety of others, can a designated driver get in legal trouble for performing an act of generosity? 

Can a Teenager Be a Designated Driver?

Some teenagers are nervous about being a designated driver because the legal drinking age across the country is 21 years of age. As long as the teenager hasn't been drinking, there shouldn't be any problems; however, if anyone in the car isn't 21 years of age and has been drinking, there might be legal problems in that area. If the teenager is under the age of 18, there might be issues depending on the time of night that they're driving on the road. Most states require a high school aged driver to have a year of experience behind the wheel before they are allowed to operate a vehicle late at night. Anyone with questions regarding the hours that they're allowed to be on the road should refer to the specific laws in their state. Of course, the designated driver should always be completely sober.

If I'm Sober, Can Other People in the Car be Drinking?

While some people might be reluctant to give orders to the intoxicated people in the car, it is vital that the designated driver prevents other people from drinking in the car. There are open container laws across numerous states that give the police the authority to arrest anyone who is consuming alcohol while a motor vehicle is in motion. Therefore, make sure that nobody is drinking in the car, especially while the car is moving. If they are, it won't matter how sober the designated driver is.

Can I Give Rides to More People than I Have Seats?

It's not unusual for people to try to minimize the number of trips as the designated driver and try to cram multiple people in the car; however, everyone in the car needs to be wearing a seatbelt. If there aren't enough seatbelts for all of the passengers, multiple trips may be required. Many designated drivers think that cops will cut the driver a break because they're keeping drunk people off the road; however, this chance isn't worth it. Just take multiple trips.

Anyone with questions about drinking and driving or who is facing a DUI charge should contact an experienced attorney for professional advice. When someone is facing a DUI charge, the legal stakes are high and everyone is entitled to the strongest defense possible.

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