Open Container One of Charges for Man who Head-butts Patrol Car

open container for head-butting man

Photo: SimplyElke

A man was arrested in Davis County on Wednesday, March 11, after allegedly smashing a window in a patrol car with his head and threatening law enforcement, among other things. While the man received a laundry list of potential charges which aren’t as common—both felonies and misdemeanors—the charge of having an open container in the vehicle is one that occurs a little more frequently.

A Perfect Example of “Disorderly Conduct”

According to a report in KSL News, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, a Clinton patrol officer stopped Randy Duane Ochsner, 54, and was soon assisted by a Davis County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Believing Ochsner to be driving impaired—but not yet having discovered the open container… or other things in the vehicle which would get Ochsner in trouble—a field sobriety test was conducted during which Ochsner became agitated. After being cuffed against the passenger side of the patrol car, things just got worse.

According to Sgt. DeeAnn Servey, “He became very upset and decided to bash his forehead into the passenger rear window of the Davis County Sheriff’s patrol car, which led to the window completely shattering and several injuries to his face.”

When medical personnel responded, Ochsner was still reportedly belligerent, attempting to kick one of the EMTs and spit on both health care workers and responding officers, the latter of which landed him a “propelling a bodily substance” assault charge.

In addition, while traveling to a local hospital, Ochsner allegedly threatened to shoot one of the deputies in the head. After treatment for his injuries, Ochsner was transported to the David County Jail. A search of his vehicle turned up drug paraphernalia and controlled substances, which lead to possession charges for both.

In addition to those charges and propelling a bodily substance, Ochsner was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer, interference with an arresting officer, making terroristic threats, criminal mischief, failure to install an ignition interlock device, being an alcohol restricted driver, driving under the influence with two or more prior convictions within 10 years, and having an open container in the vehicle.

Understanding the Open Container Law

While the least serious of Ochsner’s charges, having an open container is a charge many people come face-to-face with, sometimes simply for not understanding the law. According to 41-6a-526 of the Utah Motor Vehicles Traffic Code, “a person may not drink any alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle or while a passenger in a motor vehicle, whether the vehicle is moving, stopped, or parked on any highway or waters of the state.”

This section of the open container code also states that a person may not have a container with a seal that has been broken or contents partially consumed in the passenger compartment, including a utility of glove compartment, even if they aren’t driving impaired.

Exceptions for both the drinking and possession of an open container are made for passengers in the living quarters of a motor home or camper, a limousine or chartered bus, or in a motorboat. While drinking in a taxicab or bus is still prohibited, possession of an open container in those vehicles is legal.

Breaking this section of the traffic code is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Even though class C is the least serious of the misdemeanors, it’s still not something to gamble with. If you or someone you know has been charged with being in possession of an open container, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Wrong Way Driver Charged with Fleeing, Resisting Arrest

wrong way driver resisting arrest

Photo: Lionel Allorge/Wikimedia Commons

A man who was driving the wrong way down a one-way street on Friday, Jan. 30, was arrested and charged after refusing to pull over, then allegedly threatening to shoot the officer, and finally resisting arrest. According to court records, this isn’t the man’s first run-in with the law.

Lots of “Wrong Ways,” Including Resisting Arrest

According to a report from KSL News, the trouble began at approximately 2:20 a.m. on Friday morning. An officer noticed a driver going the wrong way on 500 South, a one-way street. The officer turned on his overhead lights in an attempt to get the driver to turn around and go the correct way, but instead the driver went around the officer.

At this point, the officer added his siren to the mix, but the driver still didn’t stop. Rather than create more danger by starting a wrong-way pursuit, the officer pulled over, called dispatch, and then searched the area, finding the vehicle parked at a residence at 500 South 800 East. According to Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan, when the officer approached the vehicle to see if the driver was still inside, he heard something which may have been a threat come from a man on the porch of the residence.

The officer ordered the man, Brent Brown, 43, of Salt Lake City, off the porch and to lie down on the ground. However, a struggle ensued when the officer tried to put on the handcuffs, adding a charge of resisting arrest to Brown’s tally for the morning, including failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer.

Detective McGowan said the Brown’s statements were “broken up, disjointed, and unintelligible,” but as of Friday, information hasn’t been released as to whether Brown was intoxicated, although given his lengthy history of DUI and other alcohol related charges and traffic violations, it’s not out of the question.

Resisting Arrest: Class B Misdemeanor

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-8-305, interference with an arresting officer, more commonly known as resisting arrest, occurs when a person “has knowledge, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have knowledge, that a peace officer is seeking to effect lawful arrest or detention of that person or another and interferes with the arrest or detention”.

Resisting arrest can happen if the person uses force or any weapon, refuses to perform any act required by lawful order (such as allowing himself to be handcuffed), or refuses to stop doing something that interferes with the arrest of detention. Resisting arrest is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If you or someone you know has been charged with resisting arrest, don’t leave your defense in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will work on your behalf.