After a long week of work, many Californians like to settle down with a few drinks. However, given the Golden State’s strict alcohol laws, it’s essential that you do so responsibly. While you probably know that operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is illegal, are you aware of the state’s open container law? For more information about California’s various DUI and alcohol related laws, be sure to consult with an experienced Hollister DUI attorney.
California open container law
Under California law Vehicle Code sections 23221-23229, it is illegal to drive with any container of alcohol that has been opened. In most cases, this type of offense is seen as an infraction and carries a $250 fine. If the driver is at fault, the driver will be fined. If the open container belongs to the passenger, both the passenger and driver will be fined.
However, if you are a driver or passenger younger than 21 years old, you face increased penalties including:
- Misdemeanor charges
- Six months in jail
- Up to $1,000 in fines
These penalties can affect your ability to commute to work or school and may impact future employment and educational opportunities. In many cases, an open container law violation can be negotiated down or dismissed. Call an experienced defense lawyer immediately after you are ticketed or arrested for an open container violation.
Places to store alcohol in your car in California
According to the California DMV, “A container of alcohol carried inside the vehicle must be full, sealed, and unopened”. This does not apply to nondriving passengers in a bus, taxi, camper, or motor home.
The only truly safe place to keep an open container of alcohol is in the trunk of your vehicle. Technically, the law allows you to store it anywhere where passengers do not sit. The law specifically explains that it is illegal to store an open container in the glove box of your car.
Contact a Hollister DUI defense attorney today
Giuliano Law fights passionately for California residents accused of drunk driving in Hollister, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties. Whether you are arrested for a first-time DUI, or face charges for subsequent offenses, we work tirelessly to protect your rights. To discuss your case with a skilled attorney, call (831) 257-8685 or contact us online.