Can I Have an Open Container of Alcohol in Arizona?
Posted By Salvador Law Group || Mar 15, 2019
In the state of Arizona, there are laws regarding open containers of alcohol. Similarly to Arizona drug charges, if you are pulled over by a police officer for any reason and there is an open container visible in your vehicle, you can face a Class 2 misdemeanor charge, along with penalties and fines.
It’s important to know about the laws and what options you have if you are arrested and charged with this crime.
Arizona’s Open Container Laws
There are a few factors to know about open container laws in Arizona. It is illegal to have an alcoholic beverage in your vehicle within the state, even if you are not actually drinking the beverage while driving. If the container is open or has a broken seal, you can face charges.
For example, if you are driving completely sober but are pulled over by a police officer and have empty beer cans littering the floor in the front of the car, you can be charged. As long as the contents of the container are at least partially removed, it’s possible to face charges.
In Arizona, an alcoholic beverage includes any type of wine, beer, malt beverage, distilled spirits, mixed drinks and generally any drink that contains at least 0.5 percent alcohol.
In many cases, an open container charge accompanies a DUI (driving under the influence) charge. This means it’s possible to receive an open container charge after being charged with a DUI. Additionally, it’s important to note that it is illegal to drink alcohol in public in Arizona.
There are certain exceptions to the open container law. Passengers are exempt when they are riding certain types of vehicles, such as limos, taxis, and buses. Passengers are permitted to drink alcoholic beverages in these vehicles.
Penalties for an Open Container Charge
If you are convicted of an open container crime, you can receive up to four months in jail and a maximum fine of $750. Just as with Arizona drug charges, a conviction can have adverse effects on your future in a number of ways. It can affect your ability to get a job and can make things worse for you if you have another run-in with the law.
It’s wise to speak with an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested and charged with an open container crime. Your lawyer can explain your options before you choose to automatically plead guilty.
An experienced and aggressive Arizona criminal defense attorney may be able to have the charges against you dismissed, which can protect your future and ensure you do not have to face the penalties a conviction brings.
Contact Salvador Law Group at (602) 842-6222 for aggressive defense.