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Houston DWI Lawyer > Blog > DWI > What Happens If You Have an Open Alcohol Container In Your Vehicle

What Happens If You Have an Open Alcohol Container In Your Vehicle


It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car in the state of Texas. So, if you get pulled over and you have a bottle of alcohol that is open in the vehicle there could be criminal consequences. If you were intoxicated at the time, the open bottle could result in an extended jail sentence.

After a DWI arrest, or if you were pulled over with an open container and do not know where to turn, have a discussion with a seasoned Houston DWI lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to assess your situation.

When a Bottle of Alcohol Is Open

You may be wondering what establishes a container as being open. There are rules in place that are clear, they define what an open container is. With an open container of alcohol in a car, a Class C misdemeanor could result. In many instances there would be a $500 fine connected to the charge. The facts include one or all of the following.

  • The container is open
  • Or it has been opened
  • There is a seal that has been broken
  • Alcohol is missing from the container itself

These guidelines apply to containers on front seats or backseats. If open alcohol is found in either of these areas you could be charged. If the container is not out in the open area of the car, specifically if it was in the glove compartment or trunk, there could be a path to contesting a law enforcement charge. There are other exceptions too, including the area behind the final row of seats if the car is designed without a trunk or in circumstances where the vehicle is a limousine or recreational vehicle.

Sentences Can Lengthen with Open Containers

If you are convicted of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense and you had an open container of alcohol in your vehicle at the time of the arrest, it could lead to a longer sentence. More jail time could be added.

An experienced Houston DWI lawyer is able to assess what options are available for your situation. If you were stopped and had an open bottle of alcohol in your car, there will likely be consequences. What penalties are discussed will also depend on if you were intoxicated or not at the time.

For individuals who are found to be driving while intoxicated, a minimum jail time is typically 72 hours. But if there was an open bottle in the car, the minimum time can double. Maximum jail time, of course, can extend sentences. There are times when 180 days need to be served in connection with a DWI and open container charge.

Were you or someone you love charged with a DWI offense in Texas? You need a seasoned defense lawyer working for you. Our experienced legal team has the knowledge needed to defend against criminal charges, from minor to serious. Reach out to the legal team at Ayson Law Firm to understand your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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