Open container law Texas: Penalties, Consequences, Exceptions, And More 2023

We’ll be discussing the open container law Texas today. Hence, take your time as we paddle you through the available penalties, consequences, jail time, exceptions, and more.

Since there is more to know about the incredible Texas open container law, we are more than ready to tell you what the law says.

You might want to look into Texas’s open container law before taking the phrase “one for the road” literally. 

Texas does not exactly employ as many resources to educate the public about the open container prohibition as it does to promote anti-DWI activities and advertising campaigns.

Anything that is not sealed and contains whatsoever amount of alcohol is considered an open container in Texas. Capped but recently opened bottles, canisters, flasks, mugs, and Yeti cups fall under this category.

Texas’s open container laws are more complex than you may imagine. Discover the truth about Texas’ open-container law and the information that every driver in the state needs to be aware of before going out this weekend.

Texas Open Container Law

What is Open Container Law?

A person has broken the law if they “knowingly possess an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked” ( 49.031(b) of the Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle statute (Texas Penal Code, Title 10).

Yes, keeping an open container in your car can result in charges even if you aren’t driving. Being caught with an open container in your car can get you into a lot of trouble as long as you are on a public highway, which is defined as “the entire width between and immediately adjacent to the border lines of any public road, street, highway, interstate, or other publicly maintained route.”

Two examples of open containers are a bottle of wine that has been partially drunk or a beer can. On the other hand, a bottle that is completely sealed is not. If required, the trial court level can decide on the factual question of whether or not a seal has been broken.

In Texas, is it legal to drink beer and drive?

In Texas, it is acceptable to drink and drive. Texas, however, forbids drinking and driving. 

If parked, is an open container still against the law?

According to Texas law, you are not required to be moving to receive an open container citation. You may be taxed on a public road, street, highway, interstate, or other publicly maintained arteries. While certain universities and sporting venues allow exceptions, this can be applied to tailgating on a public street.

OPEN CONTAINER LAW TEXAS DEFINED

An Open Container offense or violation is explicitly described in Section 49.031 of the Texas Penal Code, and it states that:

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated on or is stopped or parked. Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal episode is a single offense.

CAN PASSENGERS DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IN A CAR?

No! Open containers are not permitted in any sitting area of a moving vehicle in Texas, including the front, rear, or driver’s side. Knowingly carrying an open container of liquor on a public highway is prohibited. It makes no difference whether the car is parked or stopped.

In Texas, are there any exclusions for passengers with open containers?

The prohibitions against open containers have several passenger exceptions. On Texas, passengers in buses, cabs, limousines, and RVs may possess an open container.

Flasks—Are they regarded as Open Containers?

In Texas, flasks are regarded as open containers. A passenger drinking from a flask could receive an open container citation. A single motorist who is discovered with a flask nearby may also be charged.

OPEN CONTAINER LAW TEXAS EXCEPTIONS

There are only a few situations in Texas where drinking alcohol while driving is acceptable.

  • In Texas, is it legal to drink in an Uber?

It is acceptable to consume alcohol while operating an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or other commercial vehicles primarily used for paying for passengers’ transportation.

  • In Texas, is it legal to keep unopened alcohol in a vehicle?

Alcohol that has not been opened may be transported in Texas. The container needs to be shut off. The Texas Open Container Law cannot be violated by resealing an already-opened container or corking a wine bottle.

  • Is a can or bottle that is emptily regarded as an open container?

Beer cans and bottles that were once filled with alcohol but are now empty are not considered open containers. The Texas Open Container Law may be broken if even a little amount could be ingested, mainly if it is in a wine or liquor bottle.

CAN I DRIVE WITH A BOTTLE THAT HAS BEEN OPENED PRIOR?

It is acceptable to bring a bottle of alcohol that has already been opened. However, according to Texas law, the open container must be kept in the car’s trunk or a lockable glove box compartment.

Is it legal to keep an open container in the trunk in Texas?

In Texas, it is acceptable to carry an open container in the trunk of a car.

What is the “No Trunk” exception in Texas?

If your car lacks a trunk, you can store an open container behind the final upright seat. Owners of Jeep, Smart Car, and other vehicles can now transport alcohol throughout Texas in safety and compliance thanks to this exemption.

IF I PARKED, CAN I BE CHARGED FOR AN OPEN CONTAINER?

Yes. You are not required to move. You may be taxed on a public road, street, highway, interstate, or other publicly maintained arteries. This might apply to street-side tailgating. Even though several universities and sporting venues have special events exceptions.

In Texas, is it okay to drink in a park?

Under section 59.134 of the Texas State Park Regulations, drinking alcohol or displaying it in a public setting is prohibited at all times in parks. Texas State Parks offer public access to all outdoor spaces.

Can you carry an open container while walking in Texas?

In Texas, drinking in public is permitted. No nationwide law forbids alcoholic beverages from being consumed in public. Alcohol use in public, however, is prohibited or restricted by many local governments.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES IN TEXAS FOR OPEN CONTAINER?

According to Texas law, having alcohol in a moving vehicle is a Class C Misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to $500. In Texas, an Open Container conviction is a lifelong criminal record violation that cannot be erased.

Open Container Law Texas Jail Time

Besides a fine, you won’t have to serve jail time if you only obtain an open container ticket. An open container violation could result in harsher consequences if you are on probation or parole.

Texas open container laws: defenses

In Texas, the open container statute has some defenses in addition to the exclusions listed above. With the help of an accomplished lawyer, you might be able to successfully contest charges if you were the subject of an unauthorized police traffic stop or a wrongful search.

The Texas Open Container Law Lesson

Unless it’s in the trunk, a bus, cab, or limo, never drive with an open can or bottle in your car (even if you put the cork back in the bottle). Contact a knowledgeable defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are ever issued a citation for having an open container. 

Any alcohol-related conviction can significantly affect your life, including your ability to get a job or rent an apartment. A skilled lawyer will work to resolve your case in a way that prevents a conviction from appearing on your record. We can aid.

Related: Open Container Law In Tennessee

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