Texas Vehicle Open Container Law

What is an Open Container?

An open container is a bottle, can or other receptacle that contains any amount of an alcoholic beverage and is open, has been opened, has a broken seal, or is partially empty.

The other important part of the open container law is that it takes place in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on a public highway. This is the area designed for the seating of the operator and passengers.

Where Do I keep My Open Alcohol or Liquor Bottle When Driving?

A opened bottle of alcohol is not a violation while driving if it is kept in certain places in the vehicle. The following areas are ok:

  • Glove Compartment that is locked
  • The trunk of the vehicle
  • If there is no trunk behind the last upright seat

This means that in a pickup truck the open container can be in the bed of the truck or behind the furthest back seat where there is room to store the container.

What is a Public Highway?

A Public Highway is in between or adjacent to the boundary lines of a public road, street, highway, interstate or other public maintained way for public use of motor vehicle travel.

Exceptions to the Open Container Law

There are exceptions to the open container law. The passenger area of vehicles used as transportation for compensation such as a bus, taxicab or limousine are not illegal places to possess an open container of alcohol.

Also excluded from being places of illegal possession of open containers are the living quarters of a motorized house coach, trailer, camper, motor home or a recreational vehicle.

What is the Penalty for Open Container in a Motor Vehicle?

The penalty for Open Alcoholic Beverage in a Motor Vehicle is a class C misdemeanor.

Can I be arrested for Open Container of Alcohol?

Yes a person can be arrested but only if they refuse to sign the ticket for notice to appear in court. The officer cannot arrest a person for the offense of Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle Texas Penal Code 49.031.

Check out my home page for more information here http://erictorberson.com

Author: Eric Torberson

Eric Torberson is a licensed attorney in Texas as well as licensed in the federal courts of the southern and western districts of Texas.