Open Container Laws

Ok party people, listen up: holiday weekends are notorious for getting folks in trouble for booze-related offenses.



I’m Lawyer Alexandria Serra, this is Lawyer Talk Thursday (catch it every week on Instagram @alexandriaserra), and this week's #LTT is an oldie but a goodie. Repost from January 9, 2020. Lawyers get vacations too! I’ve been droppin’ knowledge for over two years now.



What to know:


It is illegal to have an open container in a passenger area of a vehicle. No passenger - front or back - can legally sip an alcoholic beverage on the road, when stopped at a stop light or parked. Period. Myth busted.


You don’t even have to be driving to be charged with an open container in your vehicle. Each open container is a separate offense.


Open container means any bottle, can, or other container that contains ANY amount of alcohol and has a broken seal or the contents have been partially removed. A half-consumed vodka bottle, an open beer, or a corked wine bottle are examples of open containers. Fully-sealed bottles of beer, on the other hand, are not open containers.


Keep your open booze in the glove compartment, a locked storage compartment, in the trunk or behind your last upright seat if your vehicle doesn't have a trunk.


The recent updates to the booze-to-go laws don’t make an exception to this rule. The restaurant must seal the containers somehow (ex. Eskimo Hut bags and tape) and you can’t break the seal while taking it home. If you’re a delivery driver, make sure the containers are sealed, or you may be on the hook. It’s always best just to use your trunk and not the passenger area of the vehicle.


Chill. Party busses are legal. There are also exceptions for limos, RVs, etc.



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