Was it illegal for my son to get a ticket for unopened alcohol? 9 Answers as of July 12, 2013

My son was with his girlfriend and had parked my car to watch the city view. A cop stopped and asks him to search the car and gives him a ticket for having an unopened bottle of alcohol in the trunk of the car. Is that legal?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Yes. Permitting an open container in a vehicle is a crime.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/6/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Son should remember that in the future, tell the cop "no" when asked.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/2/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
It was not illegal, per se, except that you did not provide enough facts. I cannot understand how the officer had the right to search the trunk. That could have been illegal. The ticket itself, once you are past the search and seizure, 4th Amendment issue, would not be illegal if your son was under 21 years of age. Since the alcohol was unopened and in the trunk, though, this is a case he should most definitely fight. I think even a dismissal would be reasonable, but an infraction for disturbing the peace, at most.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
What state and what jurisdiction?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/12/2013
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Legal? If he was cited to court, meaning arrested and charged with a crime, then the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Hell get the answer to his legal question from the court in response to evidence suppression or other motions, if appropriate. If he consented instead of objecting to the search, then he waived his improper search claims. Whether the charge of minor in possession is valid will also be answered through the process. Effective plea-bargaining could possibly keep the penalties down to modest fines, instead of jail and loss of license. He can go to trial if it can't be resolved with motions or a plea bargain. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    It may have been an illegal search. The cop needs to have a reasonable suspicion that he will find an illegal substance in the car before he can search. If the search was legal your son can be ticketed for Possession by a Minor if he was a minor and if he knew it was there. For more info from an attorney with expertize in the area call.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, what was illegal was your underage son possessing alcohol. However, this type of charge is rather minor these days, and a skilled attorney has a good chance of having the case dismissed, either outright or earned.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Offices of Dennis Smith
    Law Offices of Dennis Smith | Dennis William Smith
    Assuming your son is under 21, it is illegal for him to possess alcohol, unopened or not.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    If your son is under 21, it is illegal for him to have alcohol in his possession on any street or highway pursuant to B&P 25662. Since the alcohol was unopened and in the trunk of the car, there may be defenses that can be made. I would need to know a bit more about what led up to the cop searching the trunk. Where was your son parked, and was he parked there legally? Did he consent to a search of the trunk? Is the car registered in his name? Did he know the alcohol was there? Was he transporting the alcohol on behalf and at the instruction of the parent? etc. Contact me if you would like to discuss in further detail. A minor in possession conviction as a misdemeanor charge is something he should try to avoid, and I suggest hiring an attorney. Not only would there be a criminal record, the penalties include large fines, and loss of drivers license for a year. Call me if you would like to discuss further. I have had success getting these charges dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
Click to View More Answers: