That's a tough one. As for handling the citation, I would hire a ticket attorney to see if that can't get it dismissed. Definitely do not just go pay it. That will result in a conviction.
I'm wondering how your probation conditions are worded. Does it state you have to report anything greater than a Class C? If so, I wouldn't even report it. Or does it state you have to report anything other than a traffic citation? It sounds like you've been doing great until now. I'm concerned that because of the offense you are on probation for and your strict alcohol-related conditions, your PO will violate you for this rather minor infraction. A slip-up like this could easily lead to months of in-patient treatment if not jail or pen time. With all of this hanging over your head, the fact that you are still drinking leads me to believe that you do not have control over alcohol.
Basically, you are rolling the dice by telling your PO. On the one hand, if you don't tell her and she finds out, she's even more likely to violate you. But if she doesn't find out till you're about to discharge from probation in five years and the ticket is long disposed of, she won't care much at that point. You might consult the attorney who originally handled your case to see what he recommends. Much of this decision has to do with how your specific judge is likely to react.
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Actually, I believe that you are asked each time you report to probation whether or not you have had any contact with police, and if so, to provide details. You will know this (and my guess is since you are prepared to let your p.o. know already, it probably is the rule.)
You must decide how to handle this. Many times, judges will require a person about to get off probation to take a polygraph. If so, and you do not report it, you are likely to fail.
The real question I have is WHOSE alcohol container was in your car? WHERE was it found? IF it was not yours, but you were ticketed because it was in your car, then it is far less likely that something is going to happen to your probation. If it was yours, that is a different story. (Some times cops note whether or not the container was cold to the touch in an effort to insinuate that you were consuming as opposed to someone else having left it in the car.)
You should definitely hire a lawyer to represent you on the open container case with the thought towards trying the case (as any admission could cause your probation to be revoked.)
Be aware, though, that the burden of proving a violation of probation is less than proving the case against you for a conviction.
If it was not your alcohol and you can pass a test, get one done immediately.
You should contact a local lawyer to contest the citation. You should have a local lawyer review your conditions of probation to see if you are required to report contacts or just mention them if asked.
Austin Probation Lawyer
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