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Florida: Open Container In Vehicle Which Is Parked In Parking Lot (not running)

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  • Florida: Open Container In Vehicle Which Is Parked In Parking Lot (not running)

    Hello all,
    This is my first post, and I consider law enforcement to be my friends. But I do have a question. I have seeked legal council, and they are willing to represent me for a price, but it is in their best interest to say "that is a good argument", so I need to try to find an answer from the men and women who write the tickets, and make the judgments on alleged crimes.

    I will spare most of the details. I have spent several weeks perusing over the Florida statutes related to 316.1936 "Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles prohibited"

    As an officer, please consider this scenario:
    On a busy evening in the nightlife district of a city, you walk up to a car properly parked in a pubic parking lot, shine your flashlight through the window, and see 2 people drinking from obvious beer cans in the vehicle (person in front-right seat, and person in front-left seat). There are several more open/ empty cans on the floorboard of the front passenger. The vehicle is not running, and the keys are not in the ignition. Are they in violation of 316.1936?

    Please consider the following 2 Florida Statutes:
    316.1926(2)(b) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while seated in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section. Notwithstanding the prohibition contained in this section, passengers in vehicles designed, maintained, and used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation and in motor homes are exempt.


    316.1926(1)(b) “Road” means a way open to travel by the public, including, but not limited to, a street, highway, or alley. The term includes associated sidewalks, the roadbed, the right-of-way, and all culverts, drains, sluices, ditches, water storage areas, embankments, slopes, retaining walls, bridges, tunnels, and viaducts necessary for the maintenance of travel and all ferries used in connection therewith.
    (Notice here, there is no mention of "parking lots", but lots of mention about areas surrounding "roads")


    The interpretation I am having difficulty with this is: "parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section."

    Do you interpret (and did the lawmakers intend for) that exerp to mean:

    a) Both "Parked within a road as defined in this section" or "Stopped within a road as defined in this section" (essentially & theoretically excluding parking lots). Or,

    b) Parked (anywhere such as a parking lot, a home's driveway, etc.), or "Stopped within a road as defined in this section" (including parking lots)


    My point is, "parked or stopped within a road" as the law is written has a different meaning to me than if the law makers would have truly meant to umbrella those who are parked anywhere (such as parking lots) which would be obvious if that line was written: "parked, or stopped within a road" (notice the comma).

    What is commonly enforced in this scenario? Are tickets commonly written and enforced by the courts for open containers that are in possession of people in a vehicle which is parked in a parking lot and not running (not being operated)?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by jonny545; 07-26-2017, 02:08 PM.

  • #2
    Go to court. You got arrested. That's your option. We aren't going to second guess the Officer.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jonny545 View Post
      Hello all,
      This is my first post, and I consider law enforcement to be my friends. But I do have a question. I have seeked legal council, and they are willing to represent me for a price, but it is in their best interest to say "that is a good argument", so I need to try to find an answer from the men and women who write the tickets, and make the judgments on alleged crimes.

      I will spare most of the details. I have spent several weeks perusing over the Florida statutes related to 316.1936 "Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles prohibited"

      As an officer, please consider this scenario:
      On a busy evening in the nightlife district of a city, you walk up to a car properly parked in a pubic parking lot, shine your flashlight through the window, and see 2 people drinking from obvious beer cans in the vehicle (person in front-right seat, and person in front-left seat). There are several more open/ empty cans on the floorboard of the front passenger. The vehicle is not running, and the keys are not in the ignition. Are they in violation of 316.1936?

      Please consider the following 2 Florida Statutes:
      316.1926(2)(b) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while seated in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section. Notwithstanding the prohibition contained in this section, passengers in vehicles designed, maintained, and used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation and in motor homes are exempt.


      316.1926(1)(b) “Road” means a way open to travel by the public, including, but not limited to, a street, highway, or alley. The term includes associated sidewalks, the roadbed, the right-of-way, and all culverts, drains, sluices, ditches, water storage areas, embankments, slopes, retaining walls, bridges, tunnels, and viaducts necessary for the maintenance of travel and all ferries used in connection therewith.
      (Notice here, there is no mention of "parking lots", but lots of mention about areas surrounding "roads")


      The interpretation I am having difficulty with this is: "parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section."

      Do you interpret (and did the lawmakers intend for) that exerp to mean:

      a) Both "Parked within a road as defined in this section" or "Stopped within a road as defined in this section" (essentially & theoretically excluding parking lots). Or,

      b) Parked (anywhere such as a parking lot, a home's driveway, etc.), or "Stopped within a road as defined in this section" (including parking lots)


      My point is, "parked or stopped within a road" as the law is written has a different meaning to me than if the law makers would have truly meant to umbrella those who are parked anywhere (such as parking lots) which would be obvious if that line was written: "parked, or stopped within a road" (notice the comma).

      What is commonly enforced in this scenario? Are tickets commonly written and enforced by the courts for open containers that are in possession of people in a vehicle which is parked in a parking lot and not running (not being operated)?

      Thank you!
      Saved.
      Now go home and get your shine box!

      Comment


      • #4
        My friend did not get arrested, thank you. It is not an arrest-able offence.

        I do not believe that an open container inside a vehicle which is parked and not running was intended to be against the law based on how the statute is written. My intent is to find out from the standpoint of Florida officers and/or judges if I am correct or incorrect.
        Last edited by jonny545; 07-27-2017, 12:01 PM. Reason: spelling

        Comment


        • #5
          Future reference alcohol and vehicles don't mix. As you weren't driving you clearly understand that, but still. Almost every state has incredibly strict open container laws, even if you're not operating the vehicle. So unless you're parked in your garage or driveway, I strongly recommend you refrain from doing this again. I mean unless you can afford it.

          As the other guy said, we can sit here and tell you that you're wrong or right all day long but at the end of the day what you'll need is legal representation, especially if they decide that you're incorrect.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Captain Adams View Post
            Future reference alcohol and vehicles don't mix. As you weren't driving you clearly understand that, but still. Almost every state has incredibly strict open container laws, even if you're not operating the vehicle. So unless you're parked in your garage or driveway, I strongly recommend you refrain from doing this again. I mean unless you can afford it.

            As the other guy said, we can sit here and tell you that you're wrong or right all day long but at the end of the day what you'll need is legal representation, especially if they decide that you're incorrect.
            Thank you for an informative response.

            My friend honestly did not know that it was illegal to have open containers in a parked non-running car in FL. In fact, that still remains the question, is it really. Admittedly, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

            Reading between the lines, we get what you're saying.



            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jonny545 View Post
              My friend did not get arrested, thank you. It is not an arrest-able offence.
              He was issued a citation ..................................that is technically an arrest

              Originally posted by jonny545 View Post
              I do not believe that an open container inside a vehicle which is parked and not running was intended to be against the law based on how the statute is written. My intent is to find out from the standpoint of Florida officers and/or judges if I am correct or incorrect.
              Quite honestly what YOU BELIEVE is not relevant...................

              The judge will make a determination in court as to who is right



              Originally posted by Captain Adams View Post
              Future reference alcohol and vehicles don't mix. As you weren't driving you clearly understand that, but still. Almost every state has incredibly strict open container laws, even if you're not operating the vehicle. So unless you're parked in your garage or driveway, I strongly recommend you refrain from doing this again. I mean unless you can afford it.

              As the other guy said, we can sit here and tell you that you're wrong or right all day long but at the end of the day what you'll need is legal representation, especially if they decide that you're incorrect.
              CAptain Adams......................I don't think you are a cop and you should not be answering questions in the AAC section



              by the way...................you keep talking about "my friend" but then you talk about YOU seeking counsel ...........yea it is COUNSEL not COUNCIL ............................so stop lying to us
              Last edited by Iowa #1603; 07-27-2017, 01:17 PM.
              Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

              My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

              Comment


              • #8
                Wow, it truly is us vs. them isn't it Iowa#1603? That's a sad revelation. I thought you guys were better than that. I really don't want to get myself onto that level. I respect the police and what they have to do. I am questioning whether parking lots were intended to be included under the law. That's it. You guys don't want to answer honestly because you all stick together, isn't it true?

                You know, I once aspired to be a law enforcement officer. I've done ridealongs. I've driven police cars at the range. I've been with the cops going though parking lots of nightclubs looking for contraband through vehicle windows. Staking out and hiding in the shadows near another nightclub where drug use in parking lots was prevalent. I also was in a ride along once where the cop sped far beyond the speed limit to get on scene for theft of gum at a 7-11.

                I'd appreciate some respect. Now I know I won't get it, but that's ok! I dare you to prove me wrong!

                And for the record, mixing alcohol with vehicles is a bad bad idea. I completely agree.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jonny545 View Post
                  Wow, it truly is us vs. them isn't it Iowa#1603? That's a sad revelation. I thought you guys were better than that. I really don't want to get myself onto that level. I respect the police and what they have to do. I am questioning whether parking lots were intended to be included under the law. That's it. You guys don't want to answer honestly because you all stick together, isn't it true?

                  You know, I once aspired to be a law enforcement officer. I've done ridealongs. I've driven police cars at the range. I've been with the cops going though parking lots of nightclubs looking for contraband through vehicle windows. Staking out and hiding in the shadows near another nightclub where drug use in parking lots was prevalent. I also was in a ride along once where the cop sped far beyond the speed limit to get on scene for theft of gum at a 7-11.

                  I'd appreciate some respect. Now I know I won't get it, but that's ok! I dare you to prove me wrong!

                  And for the record, mixing alcohol with vehicles is a bad bad idea. I completely agree.
                  Asking officers to interpret what the legislature "meant" is also a bad idea. That is up to the courts.
                  Train for tomorrow, for you never know what it will bring to the fight.
                  In the school of Policing, there is no graduation day.

                  Arguing on the internet, is like wrestling with a pig in mud. After a while you realize that while you are getting dirty, the pig is actually enjoying it.
                  Do Not Disturb sign should read, Already Disturbed Proceed With Caution.
                  Even if the voices aren't real, They have some really good ideas.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bpd303 View Post

                    Asking officers to interpret what the legislature "meant" is also a bad idea. That is up to the courts.
                    I understand now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jonny545 View Post
                      Wow, it truly is us vs. them isn't it Iowa#1603? That's a sad revelation. I thought you guys were better than that. I really don't want to get myself onto that level. I respect the police and what they have to do. I am questioning whether parking lots were intended to be included under the law. That's it. You guys don't want to answer honestly because you all stick together, isn't it true?

                      You know, I once aspired to be a law enforcement officer. I've done ridealongs. I've driven police cars at the range. I've been with the cops going though parking lots of nightclubs looking for contraband through vehicle windows. Staking out and hiding in the shadows near another nightclub where drug use in parking lots was prevalent. I also was in a ride along once where the cop sped far beyond the speed limit to get on scene for theft of gum at a 7-11.

                      I'd appreciate some respect. Now I know I won't get it, but that's ok! I dare you to prove me wrong!

                      And for the record, mixing alcohol with vehicles is a bad bad idea. I completely agree.
                      You can read the statute just as well as we can..................The way most cops "interpert" statutes is normally If some area is "exempt" from a law ....then the statue STATES it is exempt.

                      It's obvious that the officer who was on scene feels that the citation fit the statute. That is good enough for me............the judge can make the final decision............as it should be


                      On this forum you get the unvarnished truth. If the truth hurts your sensibilities, you probably should go play elsewhere

                      The fact of the matter is ........................once a citation is written or an arrest is made ...................the only person who's decision
                      matters is the judge or jury's


                      The only thing we know about you on this forum is what you write/.................when you write information that contradicts yourself.....your entire post is viewed with suspicion.

                      Have the best day ever
                      Last edited by Iowa #1603; 07-27-2017, 06:48 PM.
                      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        And you don't get **** from us as far as respect when you come in here questioning an officer's motives. I for one do not believe an ounce of what you said as far as doing ride-alongs, etc etc
                        Former Police Officer (Injured LOD)
                        USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
                        "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
                        Emergency Services Dispatcher, APG MD

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post

                          You can read the statute just as well as we can..................The way most cops "interpert" statutes is normally If some area is "exempt" from a law ....then the statue STATES it is exempt.

                          It's obvious that the officer who was on scene feels that the citation fit the statute. That is good enough for me............the judge can make the final decision............as it should be


                          On this forum you get the unvarnished truth. If the truth hurts your sensibilities, you probably should go play elsewhere

                          The fact of the matter is ........................once a citation is written or an arrest is made ...................the only person who's decision
                          matters is the judge or jury's


                          The only thing we know about you on this forum is what you write/.................when you write information that contradicts yourself.....your entire post is viewed with suspicion.

                          Have the best day ever
                          Thanks for the additional information. That is helpful.

                          I understand your suspicion. The bottom line is whether it was my friend, my sister, my father or myself, or a combination of these individuals, all I am trying to understand is if the law was broken given the exact scenario described in the OP, as the statute is worded unclearly as it pertains to described situation. That's why I was hoping to get some FL officers or judges to have a look and say something to the effect of:
                          "Yeah, I write tickets all the time for people with open containers in parking lots while their car is not running because it is against the law.", or
                          "No, I haven't written tickets for people with open containers in parking lots while their car is not running because as far as I know that is not against the law."
                          I don't think it matters but this would be in the area on the outskirts of Pensacola. State statute is statewide from what I understand.

                          I know you all don't want to hear this, but officers make mistakes too. Sometimes the laws are mis-interpreted. I'm not accusing anyone of anything. We are all human and all have sinned. Truth shall prevail. Whether truth makes a situation worse, or truth makes a situation better is irrelevant. Truth is what matters.

                          Originally posted by J2H View Post
                          And you don't get **** from us as far as respect when you come in here questioning an officer's motives. I for one do not believe an ounce of what you said as far as doing ride-alongs, etc etc
                          That's ok. There's actually more to the story, and you might be impressed, although something tells me you wouldn't be!
                          Sometime down the road I might be inclined to share it with you.
                          No need to be so hostile. Really



                          Ahhh, a light just came on. Maybe you all think this is going to be used in court and therefore the hostile responses. I see. Well, in that case, I understand. That is not the intent. Court is in late August and research will therefore continue via other resources.

                          Thanks all!


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jonny545 View Post



                            I know you all don't want to hear this,but officers make mistakes too
                            Do you really think that is a big revelation ???????????

                            Originally posted by jonny545 View Post

                            . Sometimes the laws are mis-interpreted. I'm not accusing anyone of anything. We are all human and all have sinned. Truth shall prevail. Whether truth makes a situation worse, or truth makes a situation better is irrelevant. Truth is what matters.




                            That is what the court system is for.....................................Citations are dismissed and Violators are found Not Guilty EVERY DAY.

                            Once the citation is issued ....................the only person's opinion that matters is the judge...........
                            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here it's a legit cite but it would be for drinking in public ie: the parking lot. Can't do that, but I'm not in Florida. That seems like such a minor offense that I wouldn't be willing to hire an attorney but that is merely an opinion. I'd be curious as to what the court decides.
                              Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

                              Comment

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