Open Container Charges

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What Are Open Container Charges?

Open container charges are a type of alcohol crime involving the transport of alcohol in vehicles. Many state and local laws do not allow drivers to have open containers of alcohol in the car when driving. These are to prevent the occurrences of drunk driving or driving under the influence.

Open container laws usually apply to all alcoholic beverages, regardless of the alcohol content of the beverage. They may also specify the area that open containers are restricted from within the car (i.e., the “passenger area”, or areas in reach of the driver).

What Are the Penalties for Open Container Charges?

Penalties for open container charges can range from informal citations to misdemeanor charges. They may result in criminal fines and/or short jail time. However, certain factors can make open container charges more serious.

For instance, if the open container charge is linked with a DUI injury case, it can create more legal and criminal liability for the defendant. Or, if it is a repeat offense, the penalties may also increase accordingly.

Are Open Container Laws the Same in Each State?

No, each state has different open container laws. For instance, some states may define “passenger area” differently. Also, the penalties for open container violations are going to be different for each region. There are also federal standards for open container laws, but not all states follow the federal standards exactly. Open container laws by state can often be confusing, but the assistance of a lawyer can help clarify a defendant's rights.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Open Container Charges?

Open container charges can lead to serious criminal consequences in some cases. You may wish to hire your own private attorney for assistance with open container charges. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with legal advice and counsel regarding your charges. Also, your lawyer can keep you updated regarding any changes in the law.

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Last Modified: 12-19-2013 02:02 PM PST

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