Is It Illegal to Have an Open Container of Alcohol in a Vehicle in San Antonio?
We can all imagine the scenario: you are driving down the road with a couple of buddies, and suddenly, you hear the distinct cracking of a can opening. You turn to your right, and what do you know, but your friend has cracked open a can of beer. At this moment, you are likely wondering, are you in any legal jeopardy for a passenger drinking from an open container, even if you have not been drinking? Well, it is essential to know that in Texas, a driver may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor because of the open container in your car, regardless of whether you have had a single sip from it.
If you have been charged with a Class C misdemeanor for driving with an open container present in your car, consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney, who will be prepared to ensure your rights remain protected and that an outcome in your favor can be pursued in your case.
What to Know About Open Container Laws in Texas
Simply put, there cannot be an open container of alcohol in the vicinity of the passenger area of a car. For example, if a can or bottle has been cracked open and has a broken seal or the contents of the alcoholic beverage have been partially removed, this constitutes having an open container. Furthermore, even if the car is not moving, you can still be charged with an open container violation. In a situation where you must transport already opened alcohol containers, the containers can be lawfully stored in a locked glove compartment within the vehicle or in the trunk. However, if you are traveling in a bus, taxi, or limousine, you are allowed to consume open containers of alcohol. Moreover, you can also enjoy alcoholic beverages in the living area of an RV or motorhome.
A law enforcement officer can only stop your vehicle if they have reason to believe you have broken the law or are at risk of endangering yourself or others. In addition, any search resulting from you being pulled over must be conducted lawfully. Finally, if caught red-handed with an open container of alcohol in your vehicle that is not legally stored, you may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, which may cost you $500 in fines.
Contact a San Antonio, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with having an unlawful open container in your vehicle, the knowledgeable San Antonio criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Sam H. Lock are here to help. Call 210-226-0965 for a free consultation.