When it comes to open alcoholic beverages in vehicles, each state has enacted
its own “open container” statute. Generally, it’s illegal
to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of any vehicle
that is on a public roadway.
This law can get a little confusing for people. Is it okay to bring an
open bottle of wine home from a picnic? Can you transport half empty bottles
of liquor from one place to another? Or, are you only allowed to have
sealed bottles of alcohol in vehicles?
In Texas, the state’s open container statute is covered under Sec.
49.031 of the Texas Penal Code. Under this section, an open container
refers to any bottle, can or receptacle with any amount of alcohol that
has been opened, the seal removed, or the contents partially removed.
Here is what the state’s open container law says: It is illegal to
knowingly possess an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of
a motor vehicle (where people sit) while the vehicle is on a public roadway,
regardless if the vehicle is stopped, parked, or in motion.
Note: this does not apply to a locked glove compartment or the trunk of
Are there any other exceptions? Yes – if the defendant was a passenger
in a bus, taxi, limousine, motor home, camper, recreational vehicle, or
motor home, then they are not breaking the open container law.
In Texas, violating the state’s open container law is a Class C misdemeanor,
punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
Open Container Offenses & DWI Arrests
Often, someone is charged with possession of an alcoholic beverage in motor
vehicle (open container) at the same time they are charged with
driving while intoxicated (DWI). That is because many drunk drivers are found with an open container
of alcohol in their vehicles at the time of the DWI arrest.
If you are being charged with DWI or having an open container of alcohol,
or both, don’t hesitate to
contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC for a hard-hitting defense! There are many
DWI defenses that work; let us find out which strategy is best for you.