Know About Open Container Law

Drunk Driving & DWI conviction

Open Container Laws: How These Laws Can Affect A City, Its Community and You

So one day my client asked this question: Are you able to walk down the road with an open bottle of alcohol in your city? This can happen to anyone who had only a sip of drink, whether it was a cocktail or a cup of beer, and who decided to walk out of the bar to the street which is public space. In such ase, the situation actually depends on your local and state’s laws regarding open containers.  Why are there open containers laws? Actually, having this kind of law

1 – They can keep the quality of life for residents and businesses intact, as it keeps people from getting drunk in public and acting rowdy.
2 – It reduces the possibility of vehicle accidents since it outlaws drivers and passengers from drinking.
3 – They can maintain the fund subsidies for federal highway construction. According to federal law, states that have no open container laws will lose their federal transportation subsidies.

Keep in mind that not all states and cities that laws that forbid carrying and drinking in public like city parks and sidewalks. For example: New Orleans and Las Vegas don’t have open container laws on their books.

What Are Open Container Laws?

Open Container Law is the restriction of where people are allowed to drink in public. What constitutes a public place will depend on your city and state’s laws and how the courts interpret those laws. Depending on certain court rulings and laws, violations of these open container laws may happen when a person drinks or has possession of an open alcoholic bottle while:

- On public sidewalks   - Inside parked vehicles
- On front steps or common hallways of apartment buildings
- In mobile homes        - On school property
- In parking lots           - In residential neighborhoods

These laws were created to protect communities from injuries that come about from drunk drivers and disorderly conduct.

In 1998, Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (or TEA-21) so states would have a financial incentive to restrict drinking inside motor vehicles. States that fail to implement open container laws will lose some part of the federal highway construction funds.

Exceptions To The Open Container Law

There are seven states that don’t have any open container laws that forbid drinking an alcoholic beverage in public. In New Orleans, there are no open container laws. However, people who do drink on the streets and sidewalks must do so from plastic cups only. It does forbid drinking in a parking lot. In Las Vegas, public alcohol consumption can be done from a glass bottle any day of the year except for several holidays such as Independence Day and New Year’s Eve.

The biggest reason some places don’t have open container laws is to promote their main trade: tourism. Without these laws, tourists are encouraged to drink at bars, hotels, restaurants and in certain areas of the city such as the French Quarter in New Orleans or the Strip in Las Vegas.

While these cities don’t have open container laws, they do have other quality of life laws that forbid certain actions such as:

- Public nuisance
- Public urination
- Arguing with police
- Disorderly conduct
- DUI/DWI – If you drink lawfully, don’t drive.

How To Contest Citations For Open Container Law: What Rights Do You Have

If you or someone you know has received an open container citation, you can have the opportunity to fight in court.

You should get in touch with a DUI/criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to learn how they can help you. Some legal factors the attorney will go over with you include:

- If you or your loved ones actually were in violation of the city/state law
- If the arresting officer/police followed the law
- If your conduct constituted a criminal violation

More details of the guideline on Sobriety Test and protect yourself

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