In California, there are several laws covering the prohibition of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. For a violation to occur, the container of alcohol must be opened, its seal broken, or be partially consumed. Open Container Laws apply whether or not the driver or any of the passengers have consumed the product. The law also specifically applies to possession of an open container of alcohol. This means the driver or passenger must be shown to have control or possession of the open container.
Punishment for violating the Open Container Law is typically a fine of $250 plus a penalty assessment; however, penalties in the case of individuals under the age of 21 are more severe. Those under age 21 who are either drivers or passengers can face maximum penalties of up to six-months in jail and maximum fine of up to $1,000 plus a penalty assessment.
Exceptions to the Open Container Law include: storing open containers of alcohol in a trunk, possession occurring in a hired vehicle such as a party bus, taxi, or limousine, the police discovering the open container after stopping you without probably cause, or the police discovering an open container while in the process of conducting an illegal search or seizure.
If you are facing prosecution under California’s Open Container Law, please contact The Traffic Ticket Attorneys today for a free consultation.