December 25, 2009, Newsletter Issue #198: Open Container Laws

Tip of the Week


Having an open container of alcohol in your car while you're driving is against the law. Depending on the state you reside, and whether or not this is your first offense will determine if the crime is a felony or misdemeanor. If you're stopped by the police for a traffic offense, and the officer sees the container in plain sight, that gives him/her probable cause to ascertain whether or not you're driving under the influence. You can expect the officer to give you a field sobriety test and a Breathalyzer test. If you're not intoxicated in the officer's opinion, you will be cited for the open container and have to pay a fine; the amount of the fine depends upon your past arrest record. If you're a "habitual offender," the fine will be higher. Play it safe - keep the open container out of your reach in the trunk. Better still, don't have any open containers in the car, and don't allow any passengers to do so.

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