In Texas, state law makes it illegal to carry any type of open alcohol container in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. This includes near the driver’s or passenger’s seat, or in the back seat. Exceptions include if you are riding in a limousine, bus, or taxi that allows drinking. Contact Eddington Worley today at 855-600-6695 to learn more about the Texas laws on carrying alcohol in a vehicle.
Understanding the Specifics of the Texas Open Container Law
Under Texas state penal code §49.031, you should not have any open containers of beer, wine, liquor, or other alcoholic beverage in the passenger compartment of your vehicle at any time. This includes:
- The driver’s side
- The passenger side
- The back seat
If you need to transport an alcoholic beverage that has already been opened, you should secure it in the trunk or other non-passenger department area, such as the rear cargo area. It is important to note that you do not have to be driving at the time to get a ticket for an open container violation in Texas. You cannot drink in your vehicle, even while parked, without running the risk of getting a citation.
Regarding the Texas laws on carrying alcohol in a vehicle, there are some exceptions for the Texas open container law, but they are not common situations. They include certain vehicles where the passengers are in a separate area, such as:
Penalties Associated With Breaking the State’s Open Container Law
An offense under the state’s open container law is a Class C misdemeanor. This is a relatively minor offense and calls for a fine of less than $500. Generally, when a police officer believes you violated this law, you will receive a written citation and notice to appear. If this is the only violation they cite you for, they will likely release you.
In many cases, open container citations occur alongside other, more serious, violations of Texas law. The police may accuse you of drunk driving, called DWI in Texas, or other alcohol-related crimes. When this occurs, the potential penalties may increase significantly. They could include:
- An automatic administrative suspension of your driver’s license
- Criminal suspension of your license
- Mandatory attendance in alcohol or drug classes
- Significant fines
Talk to a Texas DWI Attorney About Your Case
If the police arrested you for drunk driving or you got a citation for another alcohol-related traffic violation, the team from Eddington Worley is here to help. We will answer any questions you may have such as the amount of time your license is suspended after a DWI conviction and how to get it back if you win your case. We can fight to protect your rights and help build a solid defense strategy for your case. Let us review the facts of what happened and represent you throughout the criminal justice process.
We can represent you in both administrative and criminal hearings. Call us today at 855-600-6695 to find out more about the Texas laws on carrying alcohol in a vehicle and to get started on your case.