Many people are aware that getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol is illegal. But you may have taken on the responsibility of being a designated driver and are taking a friend home as a passenger in your vehicle. If your passenger is drinking an alcoholic beverage while you are driving, you may be fined under the Open Container Law.
California’s Open Container Law prohibits the consumption of alcohol in public areas. Public areas are defined by state laws and mandates. This may possibly include the following areas:
- A public sidewalk
- In your parked car
- Front steps or common entryway of an apartment complex
- In a residential neighborhood
- In a parking lot
This law is in place in most states and is reproduced from the federal standards outlined in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which was passed by Congress in 1998. This law was created to reduce drunk and disorderly behavior in public spaces and to prevent motor vehicle accidents due to drunk driving.
A driver will be in violation of California’s Open Container Law if the drink is within reaching distance, such as in your cup holder. If you are pulled over while a passenger in your car is drinking, a law enforcement officer can give both you and your passenger a citation for an open container.
Questions About A DUI Case?
If you have questions about your options and legal rights after a DUI arrest, you should contact an attorney. Hayward DUI lawyer Louis J. Goodman has decades of experience practicing criminal defense law. Call (510) 582-9090 or fill out our online form today.