In the United States, there are eight states that allow passengers to have an open container of alcohol in the car—Texas is not one of them. The Lone Star State is actually known for its strict DWI offenses and open container laws, however, it is possible to defend against these charges. Here’s what you need to know about Texas’s open container laws.
What Is an Open Container?
According to Section 49.02 of the Texas Penal Code, an “open container” is: a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed.
Is There Anywhere I Can Legally Keep Alcohol in the Car?
An open container is considered illegal anywhere in the passenger area of the car. However, an open container can legally be transported if it’s in the:
- Locked glove compartment or similar storage container;
- Truck of the car; or
- Area behind the last upright seat of the car, if there is no trunk.
What If I’m Parked?
Doesn’t matter, you can still get cited for an open container violation. Even if you are in your driveway or the parking lot of a mall, you are still breaking the law.
What Are the Penalties?
In Texas, an open container violation is a Class C misdemeanor. A conviction in Texas will result in a fine of no more than $500. However, if you are also charged with a DWI, your open container violation can be upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in jail time, a hefty fine, and losing your license and existing insurance coverage.
If you have been arrested for DWI or an open container, please contact our Houston DWI lawyers at Tyler Flood & Associates immediately.
Call (713) 497-1223 or contact us online for a free consultation.