Open Container Laws
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What Is an Open Container Law?
An Open Container law makes it a criminal offense to have an open container of alcohol inside the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. Open Container laws are an important tool in the fight against drunk driving.
Is There a Federal Open Container Law?
Open Container laws vary from state to state. However, the federal government has established a program to encourage states to conform their Open Container laws to certain federal standards.
A state's Open Container law must meet six standards to fully conform to the federal requirements:
- Prohibit possession of any open alcoholic beverage container and the consumption of any alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle
- Apply to all alcoholic beverages
- Define the passenger area of any motor vehicle as the area designed to seat the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in their seating positions, including the glove compartment
- Apply to all drivers and passengers in the motor vehicle
- Apply to a motor vehicle while it is located anywhere on a public highway or the right-of-way (e.g., shoulder) of the public highway
- Specify that officers have the authority to stop a vehicle to enforce the Open Container law
All but 14 states have Open Container laws that conform to the federal standards.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you are arrested for having an open container, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.
Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
If you are a victim of a Drunk Driving DUI/DWI accident, you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn how to get compensation for your injuries.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 04-14-2014 04:02 PM PDT
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