Open Container Laws by State

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What Are Open Container Laws?

An open container law prohibits open containers of alcohol in certain areas such as public places and in vehicles. These laws vary from state to state. For vehicles, the federal government has established guidelines for open container laws under the Transportation and Equity Act of 2001 (TEA-21). 
 
States that fully comply with the six standards of TEA-21 will receive federal funds for roadway improvement. For states that do not comply, a portion of the funds must be used for alcohol awareness programs. Currently, 39 of the 50 states are in full compliance with TEA-21. 

How Do Open Container Laws for Vehicles Vary from State to State?

What about Local Laws on Open Containers?

Local laws may also regulate open containers in vehicles. However, whether the local law complies with TEA-21 does not affect the entire state’s compliance under federal guidelines. Check with your local municipality to learn more about your area’s open container laws. 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been arrested for violating an open container law or for drunk driving, you should contact a criminal lawyer to discuss your liability and any possible remedies you may have.

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Last Modified: 02-26-2014 04:14 PM PST

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