California’s open container law makes it illegal for anyone to drive with an open container of alcohol in the car. If you or a passenger in your car is caught with an open container, you and the passenger may receive a $250.00 fine.
Remember, it is not illegal to drive with alcohol in the vehicle so long as the container has never been opened. If the container has been opened, make sure to reseal it and secure it in a location out of the arm’s reach of the driver (such as the trunk of a car).
Should you ever find yourself in a situation like this, know several legal defenses to this charge. These include (but are not limited to):
- the alcohol was in the trunk,
- you were in a “hired” car, such as a taxi, bus, or limousine,
- there was no probable cause for the police to stop you, or
- the police only discovered your open container because they performed an illegal search and seizure.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different, and it is important to reach out to an attorney to assess your situation as soon as possible. That’s where we can help. Call a member of our team for any questions regarding your particular case and anything related to criminal defense.
DISCLAIMER: This section offers a series of criminal law and personal injury related bulletins prepared by the attorneys at Hayes Law Offices. This is not exhaustive, nor is it legal advice. You should discuss your particular situation with us or with your own attorney. Our legal representation is only undertaken through a contract and not by the distribution or use of this information.