Under Texas law, it is illegal to transport an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. In order to be an open container, the container must be an unsealed bottle, can, flask, or any other device to hold alcohol. Furthermore, for an open container to be present in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, it must be visible and reasonably within reach of the driver’s seat. An open container, however, is not considered to be in the passenger compartment of a vehicle if it is in a locked glove box or another locked storage area within the vehicle, if it is in the trunk of your vehicle, or if it is in the area of your upright seat, if your vehicle does not have a trunk.
The Texas open container law applies when you are driving on a public road, but also when you are stopped and parked in, on, or immediately next to a public road. Therefore, you do not have to actually be caught driving in order to violate the open container law. Plus, even if a driver does not have an open container of alcohol, but his or her passenger does, both individuals could be charged with an open container offense because they both could reach the open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. This is the case even if the driver had no alcohol in his or her system at all at the time of the arrest.
Violation of the open container law is a Class C misdemeanor under Texas law, which means that you will receive a citation and fine for the offense. There is no possibility of jail time for this offense and the fine is not likely to be more than $500.
If you find yourself charged with any type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for individuals who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.