If you are found with an open container of alcohol in close reach while you’re driving in Texas, you could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and up to a $500 fine. This kind of legislation was first passed in 2001 and has more or less remained unchanged since then.
Along with getting charged with “open container,” you could also get charged with a DWI if you have a blood alcohol level of .08%.
If you have someone riding in your passenger’s seat drinking from a flask, you could still get charged with an open container. According to Texas law, that flask is within reach, which puts you at risk.
There are some exceptions to this. If you’re a passenger in a limo, bus, taxi, or an RV, you’re not going to get charged with “open container.”
What Counts as an Open Container?
If it has alcohol, is a container, and is open, it counts as an open container. Basically.
According to the Texas Penal Code Section 49.031, an open container is:
[A] bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed.
Open container law still applies even if you’re parked or stopped. So, if you have alcohol in your vehicle, put it in the trunk, a glove compartment, or somewhere else that’s not the cupholder.
Did You Get Busted for?
If you’re required to take a defensive driving class for breaking open container laws, you could do a lot worse than Comedy Defensive Driving. If you live in Texas and need one of our classes, sign up now, you dummy.