Not that long ago I was being driven around by a DD, who had absolutely nothing to drink, home from a party with a group of friends. We have a full minivan. We were all of age, aside from the driver, and again aside from the driver, had been drinking. There was a police officer waiting on the highway within view of the party we were leaving and he decided to pull us over as we got onto highway 17.
As the officer approached the car he looked in the back of the van and saw a loose, open, bottle of rum which was half full in the "trunk" so to speak of the minivan. It was mine, he then proceeded to ask who else had alcohol. All that we had left was a completely empty bottle in a back pack that was in the row of seating behind the driver.
Nobody received any tickets but the officer tried to tell us that the driver coupld have been ticketed not for the open empty bottle in the backpack, that although was zipped up, was within reach of the driver, but for the half full bottle all the way at the back of the van. He then instructed us to put the half full bottle in the backpack until we got to where we were going.
In my opinion this is pretty bogus. In the least he should have told us to put it in the bag and put the bag in the back. It is a hell of a lot easier to grab a full bottle from a backpack behind the seat than it is to get at it behind the third row of seating or the "trunk". Even though there were people in that last row, it's pretty tough to reach over that seat and to the ground without falling over the seat (I've tried)
Can anyone let me know if what the cop said is actually legal?
Also, as it was my bottle but I wasn't driving, was I legally obligated to show I.D.? I don't think I would have been, but I was drunk and didn't want trouble.
Section 32 of the liquor licence act states that it's illegal to drive a motor vehicle if there's an open bottle of liquor within reach of anyone in the vehicle, not just the driver. To transport liquor in a motor vehicle it either needs to be in a sealed container, a sealed piece of baggage or somewhere inaccessible to everyone. I personally don't think your description of where the bottle was would count as inaccessible.
In regards to identification, if you're contravening any part of the liquor licence act you are required to provide your name and address to the officer. They can arrest you if you refuse.
And frankly when drunk people start giving attitude it usually ends bad. If you have nothing to hide or worry about why cause a stink.
Usually a drunk in a vehicle going I do not have to answer you or tell you my name ends with. Me explaining one last time that Failing to identify is an arrest-able offense under the Ontario Liquor license act So what is your name. Silence or mouth ends with Your under arrest for failing to identify. Cuffs on. Search for ID and then come the PON's. No breaks given at that point and no discretion.
Only once have I ever had to drive someone away from the scene and start to take to jail as they refuse to identify. Very fast once the car starts to move they open up with their name.
Open alcohol in a vehicle is grounds to arrest should you not identify and it is also grounds to search the vehicle.
OPS Copper wrote:and it is also grounds to search the vehicle.
...and persons within the vehicle. The Liquor Licence Act grants police some pretty amazing search authorities. Just another reason not to drink in cars.
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