Monday, February 20, 2017

Open Container Law in Maryland: Does it Apply to Passengers in Vehicles?

Many of us are probably aware of open container laws in Maryland. I think we all generally know that it is illegal to have open containers of alcohol outside on the street in public. However, many people probably do not know that it is also illegal to have open containers in vehicles, regardless of whether you are driver, front seat passenger, or back seat passenger. An occupant of a motor vehicle may NOT possess an open container that contains any amount of an alcoholic beverage.

If you are in a vehicle and stopped by police and the officer sees that you have an open bottle of beer or wine, or even just a plastic cup filled with an alcoholic beverage, they will give you a citation for violating Maryland's open container law. This type of attention from police officers will often lead to suspicions of drunk driving and could result in a DUI charge for the driver if any alcohol is detected on them.

There are obvious exceptions to the open container law for special vehicles, such as buses, taxis, limousines, and RVs.

Just remember to never drink and drive and never have open containers of alcohol anywhere in your vehicle. If you are charged with an alcohol-related offense in Maryland, call Portner & Shure for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.

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