I recently received a ticket for "open alcoholic container" while driving in Jefferson county WA. In 2001 I was convicted of felony DUI in San Bruno CA.
The ticketing officer mentioned that the combination of an open container conviction and previous DUI conviction may have serious legal implications/consequences. My inclination is to pay the fine and accept the ticket, however, I don't fully understand how an open container conviction would affect my record and what the broad consequences would be (e.g. insurance rates, employment, future alcohol related incidents, etc...). Thanks!
A open container infraction is not a criminal charge. It could be a violation of the conditions of a previous sentence, however, such as a condition that you are to not have any alocohol related infractions.
In combination with a prior DUI, this infraction could be viewed as another indication you have an alcohol problem requiring treatment if you were ever to get another DUI or drug related conviction.
I always suggest contesting any infraction, especially an alcohol related infraction.
The best course of action would be to speak with your attorney that handled the felony DUI in CA. If that case has been closed and you're no longer under the jurisdiction of that court than the open container ticket would have no bearing on it.
Regarding just paying the open container citation. If you're concerned about having it show on your record, then perhaps you should think of a different course of action rather than just paying it. There could be some collateral consequences with something like that on your record, its best to consult with an attorney to determine if any would be applicable.
This is a question for an attorney in San Bruno. Any criminal attorney in that area that is familiar with the laws / jurisdiction back in 2001. An attorney specific to that county would be the best. They will know the specifics as to what your sentence entails, if you are still subject to the Court's jurisdiction, and whether an infraction will have any bering on your old sentence. Make sure to let them know that the offense is an infraction.
The other course you could take is make a request of the Jefferson County Prosecutor for discovery in the new ticket. Get the discovery to a WA attorney and they will most likely be able to tell you if they can make the infraction "go away" or not. Good luck.
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