Is it ok to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle?

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2022 | Traffic Violations |

As you probably know, it is against the law to drive a motor vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration beyond North Carolina’s 0.08% legal limit. You may not realize, though, that you can face consequences for transporting an open container of booze in your car, truck or SUV.

According to North Carolina law, it is unlawful to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your vehicle when you are on a public roadway, even if you have parked. There are some exceptions to this law that may allow you to avoid culpability, however.

When is it acceptable to have an open container?

While most vehicles on the road are ordinary passenger vehicles, many others have unique configurations that fall outside of North Carolina’s open container law. If you have an open bottle of booze in any of the following places, you are probably not in violation of state law:

  • The passenger area of a for-hire commercial vehicle, such as a limousine or party bus
  • The living space of a motor home
  • A house trailer

How can you avoid legal consequences?

If you want to stay out of trouble, your most effective strategy is never to transport an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. That is, you should keep your booze in its manufacturer-sealed container until you arrive at your destination.

On the other hand, if you must transport an open container of alcohol, it is advisable to keep it outside of the passenger area, like in your truck or the bed of your pickup. Ultimately, though, if you are facing allegations of illegally carrying an open container, it is important to explore all possible defenses as soon as you can.