Texas is among the 39 U.S. states with an open container law making it illegal to travel in a vehicle with a “bottle, can or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal or the contents of which are partially removed.” The law applies to both drivers and passengers and is considered a Class C misdemeanor. If you are facing a recent charge under the open container law and would like advice or defense representation, be sure to contact a Fort Worth DWI defense attorney today.
Understanding the Basics of Texas Open Container Laws
Under Section 49.031 of the Texas Penal Code, “[a] person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked.” It is important to note that the law does not distinguish between a moving vehicle and one that is parked, idling or not even turned on. The Code section continues by clarifying that possession of multiple open containers by a single offender within a single criminal event is considered one infraction.
Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer Discusses Exceptions to the Open Container Law
Open container laws do not apply to a vehicle designated as a “limousine,” which includes a bus or any other vehicle used to transport people in exchange for compensation. Likewise, it is not considered a violation of Texas open container laws to consume alcohol in the living quarters of a motorized home, camper, motor home or recreational vehicle.
Your attorney will also explain that certain areas of the vehicle are not considered part of the “passenger area,” including the glove compartment, trunk or hatch.
Contact a Fort Worth DWI Attorney Today
For more information about Texas open container laws, or to discuss your recent charge with a knowledgeable Fort Worth lawyer, we encourage you to contact attorney Bryan Hoeller today by calling 877-208-3382.