Attorney Casey Reiter was recently quoted in an article appearing on Avvo’s Nakedlaw Blog regarding “Why Tailgate Parties are Legal, Unless You Have Pot.” The full article can be found HERE.
In the article, Attorney Reiter explains that “tailgate parties” (events where sports fans gather in parking lots prior to the event to eat, drink, and have a good time) are not unlawful events, even though they may ultimately result in drinking and driving.
Casey Reiter briefly explains in the Nakedlaw Article that drinking and driving, in and of itself, is not against the law in Florida.
“A person who drives home after one beer is not necessarily committing a DUI,” she says. “A person cannot drink alcohol to the extent that his or her ability is impaired and then drive a vehicle.”
Having a beer and then driving is not illegal as long as a person’s normal faculties – the ability to walk, talk, see, and hear – are not impaired by one beer, and as long as the person’s blood alcohol content is under the legal limit of .08 (or .02 for minors). If it was illegal for a person to have a sip of alcohol (or even more) and then get behind the wheel, restaurants that serve alcohol would likely not be allowed to have parking lots. That is simply not the case.
Additionally, just because someone is at a tailgating party doesn’t necessarily mean that they are drinking and driving. A person can attend a tailgate and not drink, and a person can drink at a tailgate and not be driving. Further, a person can attend a tailgate, drink, go watch the event, sober up, and drive home without having committed any crime.
Finally, it is important to note that if a municipality has an ordinance banning drinking in public, police can ticket and/or arrest anyone who is openly drinking alcohol on public property, such as sidewalks, public parks, streets, etc. Often, places where tailgating is prevalent, such as sporting arenas or even private driveways, are not public and therefore are not in violation.
Of course, this is not to suggest that it is advisable for a person to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel. Bring a sober driver with you or take a cab if you may have overindulged. As always, anyone who is facing a DUI charge in Florida should contact a Florida Criminal Defense attorney.