Open Container Laws

Texas, to comply with the federal regulations concerning open container laws, changed its open container laws in 2001. As of September 1, 2001, it became illegal in the state to possess an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. The law that passed and went into effect makes it illegal to possess an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of any motor vehicle on a public highway or the right-of-way (shoulder) adjacent to a public highway.

An open container was defined, by the legislature, as a bottle, can, or other similar item that contains or can contain any amount of alcoholic beverage and that has been opened, has a broken seal, or the contents of which have been partially removed.

The passenger area of a motor vehicle is the part of a car or other vehicle that is designed for people, like the driver and passengers, to sit. The glove compartment or any other similar storage container that is locked is not part of the passenger area. The trunk of the vehicle or the area behind the last seat of the vehicle, if the vehicle lacks a trunk, does not constitute the passenger area either.

Open container violations do not require that the car be moving when the container is found. For example, a car parked on the side of the road is still subject to open container violations. There is not supposed to be an open container in the passenger area of a motor vehicle regardless of whether the vehicle is in use or is parked or stopped.

Contact a Dallas DWI Lawyer

If you have been given a citation for an open container violation, contact the Dallas DWI lawyers of the Law Office of Mark T. Lassiter at (214) 845-7007.


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