Open container laws and enforcement differ from state to state, and even from Pasco to Pinellas to Hernando counties. Since many Floridians are transplants from other states, it’s important that you are aware of Florida’s Open Container Laws before a night out on the town.
Florida Open Container Law
The Florida Open Container Statute 316.1936 states that “an open container shall be considered to be in the possession of the operator of a vehicle if the container is not in the possession of a passenger and is not located in a locked glove compartment, locked trunk, or other locked non-passenger area of the vehicle.”
The statute also defines an open container as any alcoholic beverage that is immediately capable of being consumed, or the seal of the container has been broken.
For the passenger, “An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of a passenger of a vehicle if the container is in the physical control of the passenger.”
Can Passengers Drink Alcohol in a Car in Florida?
According to Article IV of Florida Statute 316.1936, if any passengers of a motor vehicle are in possession of or consume an open alcoholic beverage, the open container law is violated. This type of offense is considered a non-criminal moving traffic violation, which can mean the driver can be fined up to $500 and possible jail time, depending on what county you are pulled over in. Pasco County enforcement has gone through changes in recent years, so it’s best to be safe rather than sorry here. It may also lead to points assessed against your driver’s license. This does not apply for those passengers in a motor home that is parked or stopped.
If your designated driver is pulled over and you have an open container in the car, the officer can issue tickets to both you and the driver.
Can I Take an Open Wine Bottle Home After Dinner?
According to Article VIII of the Florida open container statute, a resealed bottle of wine is not considered an open container and can be transported pursuant to s. 564.09.
Florida Open Container Law Penalty
If you have been charged with an open container offense, depending on the severity of the situation, you may be charged with a misdemeanor and incur a fine, which will vary between different ordinances. When you are faced with criminal charges, it is important that you get in touch with a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about Florida’s open container laws and penalties and experienced in handling them.
Port Richey Attorneys Will Defend Your Open Container Offense
At Proly, Laporte and Mulligan, P.A, clients will find experienced Criminal Defense attorneys whom they can trust with their case. Most staff members have been a part of the esteemed law office for many years and part of the Port Richey, Hudson, and Holiday, Fla. communities for much more so they are more than qualified and knowledgeable in cases like yours.