Open Alcohol Container in Vehicle
In Texas, many residents are familiar with the concept of an open container law as it relates to their vehicle but are unaware of the specifics. Visitors may also find themselves unfamiliar with the open container law due to the lack of such a law in their own state or country, or due to the laws being so different.
Whatever the case, receiving a charge for having an open alcohol container in your vehicle in Georgetown or elsewhere in Texas can be a confusing time that may result in hefty fines and a criminal record if you are convicted. An experienced Williamson County traffic crime defense attorney can help you sort out the details in your Georgetown area open alcohol container in vehicle case and fight against such charges turning into a conviction.
Georgetown Open Alcohol Container in Vehicle Defense Lawyer
Open container law as it relates to Texas vehicles is often a topic of discussion, but rarely does a person have the true answer for what does and does not constitute a violation. If you have been arrested for one or more open alcohol container in vehicle charges in Williamson County, including Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor, and Hutto, contact Price & Twine, PLLC to begin your defense immediately.
Experienced Round Rock criminal defense attorney Michael J. Price has spent over a decade defending cases for people like you. They will sort through the details of and educate you on your Georgetown open container case in order to better fight to protect your rights and future from conviction. To find out what Price & Twine, PLLC can do for your Williamson County open container in vehicle case, call (512) 354-1880 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Open Alcohol Container in Vehicle Definition in Texas
Many states across the U.S. have open container laws, though they can vary state-to-state. The Texas law that specifically governs possessing an open container in a vehicle in this state is Texas Penal Code Section § 49.031(b). This statute states that it is illegal to knowingly possess an open container in the passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway in Texas, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped and/or parked.
Each open container found in such circumstances will count as separate offenses. For example, three open beer cans would be considered three charges of open alcohol container in vehicle. When considering this law, It is important to understand the definitions involved in Texas’ open container law to truly understand the offense. Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.031 defines these specific terms related to this offense.
An open container, for instance, is any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of any kind of alcoholic beverage and is open, the seal is broken, and/or has contents which have been partially consumed or otherwise removed. The passenger area of a motor vehicle is the area of the vehicle designed to hold both the driver and passengers.
The passenger area does not include a locked glove compartment, similar locked storage compartment, the vehicle’s trunk, or the area behind the last upright seat in the vehicle when there is no trunk. The open container law in Texas does allow a few exceptions. These exceptions are specifically defined by statute, and include the following:
- Vehicle was designed, maintained, and/or used primarily for transporting people for compensation, including limousines and taxis
- Open container was found in the living quarters of a self-contained camper, motor coach, motor home, or other RV (recreational vehicle)
If your vehicle doesn’t fall under one of the exceptions, you could end up with the fines and criminal record that come with a violation of open alcohol container in vehicle in the Williamson County area. Hiring an experienced Georgetown criminal defense attorney could be the difference between the open container charge becoming a conviction and it getting dismissed. When considering the services of a qualified traffic crime defense lawyer, it is best to contact him as soon as you are served with your open container charge.
Penalties for Williamson County Open Alcohol Container in Vehicle Violation
For each open alcohol container found in your vehicle in Williamson County that qualifies as an offense under Texas Penal Code Section § 49.031, you will receive a charge for a Class C misdemeanor. According to Tex. Penal Code § 12.23, Class C Misdemeanors in Texas are punishable by up to a $500 fine. If there is no other related offense, the police officer will issue you a written citation and notice to appear in court rather than arrest you.
However, if a drunk driving (DWI) offense is involved, you will likely be arrested. In the case of open alcohol container in vehicle with DWI, your open container charge will be upgraded to a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by 6-180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. Whatever the circumstances of your misdemeanor open container in vehicle charge in the Georgetown area, a skilled and experienced Williamson County criminal traffic defense attorney can fight for a favorable outcome in your case.
Price & Twine, PLLC | Open Container in Vehicle Defense Attorney in Williamson County
If you have been arrested and charged with a Texas open container law violation in your vehicle anywhere in or around Williamson County, including Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor, and Hutto, contact an experienced Georgetown criminal defense lawyer to being working through the specifics of your case. Your first consultation with Price & Twine, PLLC is free, so call (512) 354-1880 today and schedule yours.