An open container violation occurs when a person possesses an alcoholic beverage that is in an open container, such as a cup. The person caught with the open container of alcohol is in the passenger area of a moving vehicle. In some jurisdictions, the passenger area includes glove compartments and consoles. 

Why Was I Charged with an Open Container Violation in Texas?

Texas has a law prohibiting open containers in vehicles. The law is called possession of alcoholic beverage in motor vehicle. A person can be charged with this crime if they knowingly possess an open container of alcohol in a passenger area of a motor vehicle traveling on a public highway.

Does It Matter If the Vehicle Is Parked?

No. A person can be charged with possessing an open container of alcohol while in a moving vehicle when the car is:

  • Parked
  • Stopped; OR
  • In motion

How Does Texas Define "Open Container"?

The term “open container” applies to any alcoholic beverage in a:

  • Can
  • Bottle
  • Other container that is open, has been opened, has alcoholic contents partially moved, or has a broken seal

Can I Be Charged the Open Container Was in the Glove Compartment?

No. According to Texas state law, a passenger area is only the area of the vehicle deigned for passengers to seat in the vehicle. It does not include:

  • The vehicle’s trunk
  • Glove compartment
  • Vehicle’s storage area
  • Behind the last upright seat of the vehicle

What Is the Punishment for Possessing an Open Container in Texas?

It is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. This means that an open container charge can lead to a $500 fine.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Charge?

A violation of an open container law can lead to not only a serious fine, but also to a criminal record involving alcohol-related convictions. Contact a Texas lawyer immediately to avoid a lot of the long-term consequences of an alcohol crime.