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Texas Open Container Laws

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

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.

Punishments

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.