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By Brooke Price

Did you know? In Texas, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor for having an opened alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, even if you aren’t drinking or the car is parked.

According to Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.031, an open container is defined as a “bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed.”

So, what does this look like?

  • A flask with any amount of alcohol accessible to the driver, whether it is in the driver’s, passenger, or back row seats.
  • A previously opened wine or liquor bottle with a consumable amount inside.
  • An opened can of beer or seltzer.

Thankfully, there are exceptions to open container laws that allow you to safely and legally transport alcoholic beverages.

If you are a passenger in a bus, Uber or other rideshare, or limousine, and at least 21 years old, it is legal to carry open drinks. Additionally, if you are taking drinks over to a friend’s house and the bottle is already open, it is legal to transport the open container in your car’s trunk or locked glove box compartment.

If you are caught violating open container laws, you could face serious consequences. You will face a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500 for each open container found in your possession. If the open container is your only violation, you will not be arrested. However, if you have been drinking, or if you have committed any other crimes in the process, the offense will be enhanced, and you may face jail time.

If you have been arrested for a DWI or any other crime in conjunction with an open container violation in Williamson or Bell County, call Price & Twine, PLLC today at (512) 354-1880 so we can review your case.

Posted in Criminal Defense, DWI

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