Open container laws refer to the act of drinking alcohol or simply having
an open alcohol container in certain public areas, including your vehicle.
The laws were originally established to reduce the likelihood of
public intoxication and drunk driving. Generally, open container laws are restricted to public
places. But what is exactly considered public can be muddled and confusing.
For example, you can drink alcohol while strolling down the Las Vegas
Strip, but not outside Las Vegas city limits. Believe it or no, portions
of the Strip are outside city limits. So what exactly are the open container
laws in Texas and Austin?
The law states that anyone in a vehicle with an open container is violating
open container laws, even if they aren’t driving, or if the vehicle
isn’t moving. You don’t even have to be drinking it to be
charged. Also, any open container in a public place is outright banned.
What Qualifies as an Open Container?
An open container is defined as a can, bottle, jug, or anything that can
hold liquid that is open (if the seal is broken, it’s open) and
contains some amount of alcohol.
Open container violations fall under Class C misdemeanors, so typically,
people who are charged will have to pay a fine of $500. However, if the
charge is combined with a DWI charge, you could face much more serious
consequences. You’ll need a qualified DWI attorney to help you sort it out.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI and under an open container
law, they can face serious consequences, including jail time. Our Austin
DWI lawyers at
Carroll Troberman, PLLC are here to help.
Contact us today for a free consultation.