Have you ever opened a bottle of wine at a friend’s house or at a
picnic, only to place the half-filled bottle of wine in the back of your
car along with your other belongings before heading home? After all, it
was an expensive bottle of wine, so you don’t want it to go to waste.
Or, has the designated driver for the evening picked you and a few friends
up, only for the drinkers to slide into the passenger seats with a plastic
cup of alcohol or an open bottle of beer?
If you’ve ever done one of the above, it’s time to rethink
your strategies because in California having an open bottle of alcohol or
any open container of alcohol is illegal. Sure, you can take the chance but
is it really worth it?
No Open Containers Allowed
California’s “open container” laws are covered under
sections 23221-23229 VC. Collectively, these laws prohibit having an open
container of alcohol in a vehicle, even if the alcohol wasn’t actually consumed.
Luckily, most open container offenses are an infraction, punishable by
a maximum $250 fine if you are 21 years-of-age or older. On the other
hand, if you’re under the age of 21 and you’re caught with
an open container, you’ll likely be charged with a misdemeanor,
- Up to a $1,000 fine
- Up to six months in jail
So, the next time you want to tuck a flask of whiskey in your jacket or
purse (for the ladies), or bring an open bottle of wine home after an
evening with friends, consider storing the alcohol in the trunk, or if
you have a truck, in the bed of the pickup.
If you were caught and the open container was in the trunk, you may have
a good legal defense. If the alcohol in the trunk and not in the front
or back seat, then you are not guilty of violating California’s
open container law.
If you are facing charges for having an open container, we invite you to
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., one of Orange County’s leading
DUI defense firms.
You can schedule a
free consultation with an experienced member of our legal team –