Speak Up! - View Question #46
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Question: Can a person riding in a car with someone getting charged with a DUI also be fined?
Answer: In order to be fined for breaking the law, a person must first be charged with breaking the law. The fine is part of the sentence or punishment for the crime. Normally, one person's acts or crimes aren't attributed to another person, that is, you can't blame a person for someone else's crimes. So, normally, a passenger riding with a drunk driver would not be included in the crime unless they had committed some crime themselves.
The passenger might be charged with DUI if the police are uncertain as to who was driving at the time of the stop, such as where the driver and passenger might have switched seats, and both persons were intoxicated. Another example might be where the passenger is the owner of the car, is also intoxicated and gave the intoxicated person permission to drive.
Also, if the passenger owns the car, he or she might have some other connection with a crime, such as an outstanding warrant, lapsed insurance, or unregistered or unlicensed vehicle. Of course, this would apply if the passenger were found to be in possession of illegal weapons or contraband such as drugs.