Want to make it impossible for the police to attack people for the completely victimless act of possessing an open container, grind the courts to a halt, and force your local police department to alienate the state forensic laboratory… all while not actually breaking a law?
1. Get several bottles of Corona.
2. Videotape yourself cleaning all the bottles out in the sink… removing any trace of alcohol.
3. Fill the bottles with non-alcoholic beer.
4. Stroll downtown to your favorite public park and/or into your local police department.
6. Have your non-alcoholic beer seized.
7. Have several other people on hand doing the same thing. Have them appear at different times or locations so that the state can’t have all the trials at the same time.
8. Get charged.
10. Plead not-guilty.
11. Have your trial… introduce your evidence that you weren’t drinking beer. Get found not-guilty.
12. Repeat. (don’t forget the videotaped rinse)
The police are required to prove the existence of alcohol in the container in order for your conduct to be a proven violation of the statue (depending on how the ordinance is worded.) This leaves them with four options.
1. Seize alcohol and send it all to the lab… and only charge people afterward who the lab reports actually had alcohol in their “open container.”
2. Charge everyone, then test the “evidence.” This would tie up lots of prosecutor time in tracking all the evidence and communicating with the state lab.
3. Dump out everyone drinking a liquid that smells like beer from a beer bottle. This would open them up to a civil lawsuit, though. The police have NO right to destroy lawfully possessed property. If the police take your non-alcoholic beer and destroy it on you, sue them. They are only allowed to seize things as evidence of a crime… and are only allowed to destroy it with a court order.
Either way it will annoy the shit out of the state forensic laboratory, cost tens of thousands of dollars, tie up countless police resources, and clog the court system. In the end, you will have actually not broken a law :) Heads the activists win, tails the state looses. This method could actually collapse the court system if the police were stupid enough to continue charging everyone with an “open container.”
Civil disobedience should be played like a game of chess.
(oh, and the fourth option: don’t enforce victimless laws. sitting somewhere drinking a beer doesn’t hurt anyone. you going after someone sitting somewhere drinking a beer IS actually hurting someone.)