1. #1
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    NY's Open Container Law

    I have a question regarding the NYS Open Container Law. My husband who’s job is to drive a train, went out the other night with his friend who brought beer to drink on the way to a bar. When he left, I was very upset that my husband would consume alcoholic beverages while driving (this was not during working hours). My husband does not have a drinking problem just has a few beers now and then at home and apparently in a car.

    When he got home, I told him my concerns and we got into a big fight over it. He says it’s no big deal and would only get a ticket; he says it was only 1 beer. I of course look further into things then he does. I want to know what would happen if he got pulled over with an open container? What would happen if he got into an accident….isn’t he now in even bigger trouble?

    I am also maybe being a little selfish here….I have 2 small children and a home. I am concerned that if my husband got himself in a position where he got hurt or hurt someone else and now I face the threat of losing my home due to a lawsuit. I know that I’m really looking deep into it, but not all things always happen to the gut next door. Some things actually hit home too. Couldn’t my husband’s job be in jeopardy if he was caught with an open container while operating a vehicle? What would happen to the other passengers in the car who also have open containers?

    How can I get my husband to realize the severity of this issue? I have a 16-month-old son and cringe of the role model my husband will be to him if he is going to make these decisions for himself. I guess I’m a “What if….” Kind of person.

    Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing your responses.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasha View Post
    My husband who’s job is to drive a train, went out the other night with his friend who brought beer to drink on the way to a bar. When he left, I was very upset that my husband would consume alcoholic beverages while driving (this was not during working hours).
    I'll let someone else comment on the niceties of New York's open container law. Here in Connecticut, actually DRINKING while driving is a Class C Misdemeanor. We take you out of your car, we put handcuffs on you and we take you to jail. We tow and impound your car. You get released on a written promise to appear or you post bond, depending on the circumstances. And if later convicted you risk a prison term although it's unlikely to be imposed on a first offense. Of course if we observe you drinking and driving we also test you for DUI and you could potentially be charged with both offenses.

    I'd also be concerned with your husband's employer's workplace rules. If he operates a train I would expect his employer to require disclosure of any traffic offenses with a severe penalty for failure to disclose and occasional driver history checks to ensure compliance. Of course I don't know that that's what they do, but it's what I would expect. And finding out that your husband drinks while driving, even when not working, would (I suspect) make that kind of employer very nervous.

    Finally, you say that your husband doesn't have a drinking problem, but he needs to start drinking while driving to a bar. Those two statements don't relate well.

    Pete

  3. #3
    Tmg
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    Well if he was in Texas he would only get a ticket. There are only 2 things you can not go to jail for. Speeding and open container.

    If you jay walk i can take you to jail but if you are doing 90 in a 60 while drinking a beer then i can only give you a ticket. Go figure.
    Making the streets safer, one donut at a time

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    Well if he was in Texas he would only get a ticket. There are only 2 things you can not go to jail for. Speeding and open container.

    If you jay walk i can take you to jail but if you are doing 90 in a 60 while drinking a beer then i can only give you a ticket. Go figure.


    Now that's funny - no matter who you are!

    It is sort of like Pennsylvania, where failure to wear a safety belt is a citable infraction; but you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet!



    The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

    The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

    ------------------------------------------------

    "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

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    Hi Pete, thanks for your response......It's not my husband with the problem it's his friend. His friend is a bad influence and I worry when he's with him. I knew that statement was going to be brought up because it was conflicting. His friend is cheap and wanted to have a few drinks on the way so it was less he had to buy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasha View Post
    Hi Pete, thanks for your response......It's not my husband with the problem it's his friend.
    Alcoholics recruit. Remember that no one is born an alcoholic: the behavior has to be initially learned. If your husband is going along, not just once or twice but if it's becoming habitual, it is cause for concern. I'm not there so I have no idea.

    From what I've seen of New York statutes (remembering that it's outside my jurisdiction), a simple open container cite in New York without a DWI attached appears to be a citation with a monetary fine between $100-$200. I would still be concerned that he could have to report it to his employer and what the consequences of that would be. I would also wonder what it does to your insurance rates, which is something the statutes themselves won't tell you.

    Pete

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    Pete,

    He only sees this friend once every few months and normally it's at my home for dinner so this occassion very rarely happens. I just wanted to show him in black and white the severity of an issue like this so he doesn't do it again. I don't want to be the nagging wife, so I know have your help letting him know that I'm not just a nagging wife.

    I never even thought of the insurance increases. I think that people always thing it's not going to happen to them and my husband is included in that majority. I am the exact opposite and always think...It could happen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasha View Post
    I think that people always thing it's not going to happen to them and my husband is included in that majority. I am the exact opposite and always think...It could happen!
    Let me tell you how right you are. In our jail, we have a posted profile of the most likely jail suicide, plus, we complete a questionnaire on every arrested person to see if they fit the profile. That's so that extra attention can be paid to them.

    Generalized somewhat, the most serious risk for suicide in a jail holding cell is the upstanding citizen brought in for a (relatively) minor offense like drinking while driving or DUI and waiting to get out on bond (or waiting for arraignment in the morning).

    It is NOT the person arrested for armed robbery or murder (not saying that never happens of course, but we're talking about a profile of the highest risk). And that's because of EXACTLY what you just said: most "good people" live in denial and believe "it can't happen to them," and when reality closes in and it DOES happen to them, some people wig out to the point of actually trying to hang themselves in their jail cell while waiting to get out on bond. These are people who would NOT have gone to prison and would NOT have had the rest of their lives ruined. It comes STRICTLY from having their complete denial pierced.

    I do agree that if he only sees this individual every few months and doesn't have other friends like this, the problem is primarily with the friend. But driving with an open container will make it his problem too.

    Pete

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    You have no idea how much I appreciate your knowledge and assistance. You are sweet for sharing your insight and I can't wait to share this with my husband.

    I hate to be the wife that doesn't want her husband going out, but I know he makes poor decisions when he is with his friends and I when I am not around. He becomes a different person with them then he is with me. Is that a male thing?

  10. #10
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    Here is the NY statute that covers this situation. He was right it is only a infraction.

    § 1227. Consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages in certain
    motor vehicles. 1. The drinking of alcoholic beverages, or the
    possession of an open container containing an alcoholic beverage, in a
    motor vehicle located upon the public highways or right-of-way public
    highway is prohibited. Any operator or passenger violating this section
    shall be guilty of a traffic infraction.
    The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to prohibit the
    drinking of alcoholic beverages or the possession of an open container
    containing an alcoholic beverage by passengers in passenger vehicles
    operated pursuant to a certificate or permit issued by the department of
    transportation or the United States department of transportation.
    Furthermore, the provisions of this section shall not be deemed to
    prohibit the possession of wine which is: (a) resealed in accordance
    with the provisions of subdivision four of section eighty-one of the
    alcoholic beverage control law; and (b) is transported in the vehicle's
    trunk or is transported behind the last upright seat or in an area not
    normally occupied by the driver or passenger in a motor vehicle that is
    not equipped with a trunk.
    2. For the purposes of this section, a passenger vehicle shall mean a
    vehicle designed to carry ten or more passengers and used to carry
    passengers for profit or hire.
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