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What to know about Texas open container laws

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Driving while intoxicated is not the only alcohol-related offense that can affect your driving record. Carrying an open container of alcohol in your vehicle can also get you into trouble.

Here is what to know about Texas open container laws:

The definition of an open container

A bottle or can that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage that is open, has been opened or has a broken seal constitutes an open container. A bottle/can whose alcoholic contents are partially removed is also considered an open container.

The bottle should be in the passenger area

In Texas, you commit an offense if you have an open container in any area of the car designed for the seating of the driver and passengers. Therefore, putting an open container in the glove compartment and the vehicle’s truck may not be considered an offense.

People with cars that lack trunks can put an open container in the area behind the last upright seat of the vehicle.  

The car should be on a public highway

A person commits an offense if they are on a public highway and knowingly have an open container in the passenger area of their vehicle, whether the car is being operated or parked.

One criminal episode is a single offense

Someone can be charged with multiple offenses stemming from one allegation. But this is not the case with Texas open container laws. One is typically charged with a single offense regardless of the number of open containers found in their car at a time.

You will be issued a written citation

If the police charge you with the open container offense, they won’t arrest you, they will give you a written citation and notice to appear before a magistrate.

An open container offense can lead to a hefty fine. Besides, it can remain on one’s record forever. That’s why you need to employ the best defense strategies.