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Do you understand Texas’ “Open Container” law?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Drunk Driving

After a long week’s work, nothing can be more refreshing than hanging out with friends at your favorite restaurant. Of course, you know you shouldn’t drink and drive, and this might inform your decision to carry your drink home instead of having it at the restaurant. But before you “take one for the road” literally, you might want to understand what the law has to say regarding the transportation of alcohol in your vehicle. 

You probably know the legal consequences of drinking while intoxicated (DWI). But did you know that transporting alcohol in your vehicle can land you in trouble with the law? Texas’ Open Container laws prohibit the transportation of open containers of alcoholic beverages in your car. But how exactly does this law work?

What does the law say?

Under Texas’ Open Container Code, an open container refers to any vessel that contains alcoholic beverage that is not sealed, has a portion of the alcohol removed or is opened in any way. This can include flasks, cans, bottles with broken seals or Yeti cups. For instance, a half-consumed bottle of alcohol or wine is considered an open bottle even if it is capped at the time of the stop. 

Exceptions to the open container law

There are a few circumstances when alcohol in open containers can be transported and consumed in a vehicle. Here are some of these:

  • If the vehicle in question is a taxi – If you are operating a taxi, you may have no control over your passenger’s decision to drink. As long as you are not partaking in the drinking, you may not be in trouble with the law. 
  • If the open container has no traces of alcohol – an empty alcohol bottle is not considered an empty container as long as it does not contain any amount of alcohol that can be consumed. 

Protecting your rights

While an open container charge is a misdemeanor in Texas, a conviction can still have a lasting impact on your life. Learning more about Texas’ Open Container laws can help you safeguard your rights and interests should you find yourself on the wrong side of the law.