California’s open container law could not be stated more clearly. In this state, it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle at any time whatsoever. This includes any cups, bottles, cans, or other such containers. If the seal has been broken, even slightly, it’s an open container. California’s not alone; 38 other states also enforce a no-tolerance policy regarding open containers in moving vehicles.
While a simple open container violation, standing alone, isn’t punishable with jail time, it can result in a fine and a point on your driver’s license. Since the age limit for drinking in California is 21, drivers under that age who are convicted of an open container violation will face somewhat stiffer consequences. The courts have accepted several defenses in open container cases. If the container is locked in an automobile’s trunk (or in the bed of a pickup truck), or if the police lacked a sufficient reason to stop you in the first place, you can probably be acquitted or have the charge dropped before trial. You’ll need help from an experienced California DUI defense attorney, but it’s worth it to fight the accusation. The law also provides exceptions for hired vehicles such as limousines and for residential vehicles like RVs and campers.
In California, conviction for an open container violation is classified as an infraction and is punishable by a $250 maximum fine. However, if you are under age 21, the charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. If you (or one of your children) are charged with an open container violation in California, get in touch with an experienced DUI defense attorney right away. A good California DUI lawyer can defend you against DUI accusations, open container violations, and any related charges. Don’t hesitate to protect your rights and your future by obtaining the services of an experienced California DUI defense attorney.