Criminal Law

Busted For Open Container

Many college and university students have no idea about the open container law that was passed in Texas on September 1, 2001.

The law specifically states that if you are accused of having open containers of beer, wine, and concealed mixed drinks in any area of a motor vehicle you can be fined up to $500 and be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor. This does not include the possibility that you could be charged with collateral offenses such as: driving while intoxicated, drinking under the legal limit, disorderly conduct, or public intoxication.

Police departments across the State of Texas charge college students for breaking these laws everyday and are not always sympathetic to the lives of college students.

OPEN CONTAINER

The term Open Container refers to any container of alcohol. This includes but is not limited to a bottle, can, or other receptacle that is open, has been opened, has a broken seal, or contents have been removed. The open container must be in the “passenger area of the vehicle”. This does not include the glove compartment or similar storage area that is locked, trunk of the vehicle, or the area behind the last upright seat if the vehicle does not have a trunk.

OPEN CONTAINER OFFENSE

A person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in the passenger area of the vehicle that is located on a “public highway” regardless of whether the vehicle is being OPERATED or STOPPED or PARKED.

A public highway is considered the road, street, highway, interstate, or other publicly maintained area for public use of a motor vehicle travel. Possession by a person of one or more containers is a single criminal offense. Texas law permits exceptions to passengers riding in buses, taxicabs, limos, motor homes, and recreational vehicles as an offense with a one-time written citation with a notice to appear and you shall be released on your own recognizance.

CONSULT AN ATTORNEY

IF YOU OR LOVED ONE HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH OPEN CONTAINER, CALL AND SPEAK WITH THE LAW FIRM OF CARABIN SHAW, DAY OR NIGHT AND THE CONSULTATION IS FREE 1.800.862.1260.

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