You are probably aware that Driving Under the Influence doesn't just apply to drinking but also using drugs, so if you smoke weed or snort cocaine before getting behind the wheel and the cops pull you over, you run the risk of going to jail for a DUI charge. Even if you’re only on prescribed medication, if you fail the field sobriety test you will be arrested. Do you know you can also get a DUI in many states without ingesting a single substance? Think you can't end up in handcuffs for letting someone else drive? Think again.
If a family member or neighbor asks to you use your car to go somewhere and it is pretty obvious that they’re high or drunk you need to say no. If you lend your car out and that person gets into an accident, you might be charged with DUI by consent. This means that you consented to allow a drunk or high person to operate your vehicle, therefore, you are equally at fault in the wreck. DUI by consent is a criminal charge equal to a regular DUI.
You’re just a drunk passenger:
Let's say you leave a bar with a buddy who was drinking with you. You know you are too drunk to drive, so you toss him the keys and tell him to drive you both home in your car. Along the way the cops stop the vehicle and your buddy gets arrested for DUI. You can also be arrested on the spot for DUI by consent
. Claiming you were too drunk to drive so you did the responsible thing and allowed another drunk to drive your car won't get you anywhere with the arresting officers.
Punishment for being that drunken passenger:
Whatever the punishment is in your state for a first DUI, it will be the same punishment you’ll face for a DUI by consent. If this is your buddy's 10th DUI, however, you will not face the same punishment he will. You will face your first DUI punishment.
Only an attorney should advise you about your individual case, but common sense says that letting someone borrow your car that is obviously under the influence is something you just shouldn't do. It gets a little stickier when you are drunk or high and supposed to figure out if your driver is as well. The best way is to not let anyone who was drinking or drugging with you drive the two of you home. Find someone who did not drink at all, hand that person the keys and enjoy a safe, uneventful ride home.