Understanding Open Container Laws in Texas

Who To Call If You’ve Been Charged With An Open Container Violation In Houston Texas

Texas is known for its strict DWI offense and open container laws. Yet, even with the number of citations or arrests because of driving with an open container of alcohol in the car, it is possible to defend against these charges. The best DWI lawyer in Houston Texas knows what works when defending against DWI and open container charges and will work on your behalf to get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

FAQs On Texas Open Container Law

The first step to protecting your rights is to know what they are and understand how the laws work. This is a brief list of the most frequently asked questions concerning the open container laws in Texas. The answers can help you better understand any citations or charges you may have.

Butler Law Firm | Houston Open Container LawHow Does Texas Define An “Open Container”

Texas defines an open container of alcohol as just that. It is any bottle, jug, can, bag or anything else that contains liquid, specifically alcohol. If the container is missing any of its original packaging, is currently open or has been open, or is missing any of its liquid contents, it is considered to be an open container in Texas. Even if you don’t have any measurable blood alcohol concentration level, you can still be charged with an open container violation.

Can An Open Container Of Alcohol Be Legally Present Anywhere In A Vehicle?

Yes, you can transport an open container in the trunk of your car or vehicle. There must be no access to the vehicle from inside the car. If the vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, the open container must be stored in the locked glove compartment or another locked storage area or held behind the very last row of seats. If the open container is stored anywhere else, it is a violation of the Texas open container law. If the open container is within arm’s reach of either the passenger or the driver, Texas law enforcement officials may charge either of you with a violation of the open container law. A good example is the Smart Car. If you are driving a Smart Car which is very small, and have an open container of beer in the trunk, it is possible to be cited for an open container violation since the trunk is only a foot from the driver’s seat.

What About If My Car Isn’t Moving?

Your car doesn’t have to be moving for you to get cited for an open container violation. You can even be parked in your own driveway or in a parking lot and if you have an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, you are breaking the law. Additionally, if you are hosting an event with alcohol and have drinks available in your vehicle, such as a tailgating party, you are violating the open container law.

If I Pull Over To Sleep After Drinking, Can I Be Charged With a DWI Or An Open Container Violation?

In Texas, law enforcement officials can charge you with a DWI and/or an open container violation even if you’re parked or sleeping in your car. If you are too drunk to drive home, law enforcement officials will probably determine that you were driving while drinking before you stopped to sleep.

What Type Of Penalties Are Possible If I Get A DWI And An Open Container Charge At The Same Time?

In Texas, an open container violation is categorized as a Class C misdemeanor. If you are also charged with a DWI, this can be upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor which brings higher possible penalties. This applies whether you are a Texas resident or not. It is possible you will receive more jail time or a higher fine and you will most likely lose your insurance coverage. The state could also impound your vehicle and it will cost you a fee to get it back.

Call Us Today If You Are Charged With An Open Container Violation

Attorney Jim Butler is the best DWI lawyer in Houston Texas and can help when you’ve been charged with a DWI, open container violation or both. Call today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.