I have never been one of those people who runs with the wrong crowd, but about six months ago, I knew that I was in trouble. I was with someone when she did something against the law, and it made me a suspected accomplice. I knew that I needed help to prove my innocence regarding the involvement, so I started going through and talking with different criminal attorneys. I was able to find a great lawyer that really understood my position, and he did everything possible to prove my innocence. This blog is all about proving your innocence in court, so that you can move on with your life.
Most people understand how dangerous and reckless it is to drive while intoxicated, but open container laws can punish both drivers and passengers. Open container laws came about as a way to cut down on drunk driving accidents and arrests. The presence of a passenger drinking a beer or other alcoholic drink almost always accompanies a driver doing the same thing. These laws attempt to isolate a motor vehicle as an inappropriate place to drink, whether it be the driver or the passengers.
Open container laws allow law enforcement the power and right to charge a driver who has been drinking but who does not meet the legal qualification for driving under the influence (DUI). Some states allow the other occupants of the car to have an open container, but most do not. It should also be noted that open container laws address not just drinking in vehicles, but in public. Some cities have so-called entertainment districts that allow people to drink while walking down the sidewalk or in a park during certain hours or events.
What is meant by "open container"?
Most people know that what an open container looks like – it's a bottle, can, cup, or other receptacle that contains an alcoholic beverage. It can be straight liquor, but it can also be a mixed drink. It might be in the original container or not. For legal purposes, it just has to be unsealed or opened.
There are rules about the location of open containers. An open container of liquor may be legal in the trunk space of a car, but not in the passenger area. The key is accessibility – if the driver or passenger can easily reach the container, it is subject to open container laws. In all states, open container laws apply whether the vehicle is in motion or not. For example, if you are parked in your own driveway with an open container of alcohol, you can be charged with an infraction in some states.
It should also be noted that open container laws can vary concerning issues like ride-sharing (Uber, Lyft), private party buses, limousines, etc. Most states allow open containers in motor homes, as long as they are not in the front passenger area.
What are the punishments for violating the Open Container Law?
For the most part, open container violations carry fines but not jail time. Often, violations are classified as traffic infractions or misdemeanors. While a judge may have the power to order a driver's license suspension or jail time for an offender, very few do. You can, however, expect to pay a fine of several hundred dollars.
Speak to a criminal defense attorney or go to websites for law services to learn more about this and other traffic offenses.Share