Open Container Law in Texas
Open container law is something you thought you understood. But as you’re now discovering, there are a few things you need to learn about Texas’s open container law.
If you want to avoid a fine when pulled over, read on.
The Pull Over
You and your friend just left a Total Wine liquor store. It’s been a hectic week for both of you and you decided to relax with a few bottles of craft beer. As you slide into the driver’s seat your friend cracks open the first bottle.
“Uh…how about we wait until we get to your place?” you suggest. “I don’t want any trouble here.”
“Naw, we’ll be fine,” your friend says. “Besides, you won’t be drinking it, right? So how could you get into trouble?”
It sounds like solid logic, but something in your gut is telling you it’s not. You try to think of a counter-argument when you decide it’s better to get driving.
“I mean, his place is a few miles down the road. What could happen?” A lot, it turns out.
As you’re one turn away from your friend’s house you get pulled over. That’s when you learn the hard truth: even though you didn’t drink a drop, you’re getting a $500 dollar fine.
What Texas Means By “Open Container”
According to Texas state law, an open container means any open container of alcohol. It does not matter what type of alcohol is open. It also doesn’t matter if your car was moving, parked, or who was drinking the opened alcohol, or how much they drank. The only thing that matters in the eyes of the law is that a bottle of alcohol was open.
“What if the bottle is open and no one drank it?” Even you just opened the bottle and no one drank, you could still face a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted of a class misdemeanor you’ll be fined no more than $500.
Exceptions to the Law
While this law does seem harsh, there are a few exceptions you should know about. If you’re the passenger of a limousine, bus, taxi, or a mobile home with living quarters, you won’t get in trouble if you’re pulled over.
To better understand this, let’s change the situation from above a bit. You and your friend buy some craft beers and tequila from Total Wine. But instead of getting in your car, you get into the limo you rented. You’re celebrating your friend’s recent promotion at work and decided to play it safe by getting a driver for the night. Because you’ll be enjoying craft beer in a limo and not driving, you should be fine.
The same goes for taxis, buses, and the mobile homes mentioned above. NOTE: While legally you won’t get in trouble for drinking on a bus, many buses have rules that prohibit food and drink.
“What about Uber or Lyft?” Good question! Uber and Lyft are like taxis and can be a great way to get home from a night out. However, since the ride you’re getting is still in a car and not an official taxi, play it safe and don’t drink in the Uber and Lyft.
Hire DWI Lawyer David Hunter Today!
If you want to know more about Texas open container laws and think you need a DWI lawyer, David Hunter can help. David’s extensive experience as a trial lawyer and Texas Judge have given him a unique perspective on the Texas criminal justice system that allows him to provide a top-notch defense to each and every client. He handles DWI cases regularly and knows exactly what to do so you’ll spend less time in court and jail.
Call (281) 417-3117 or click below to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the open container law in Texas!