Passenger Open Container Law
Connecticut is 1 out of 10 states (Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) where it is not illegal for car passengers to have an open container of alcohol. While it is illegal for drivers to consume alcohol while in the car, passengers can even drink from an open container. Here’s what you need to know about alcohol container laws in Connecticut.
Can the Passenger Drink in a Car?
Yes, passengers can drink, but it is illegal for a driver to have an open container of alcohol if they’re:
- Operating a motor vehicle on a public highway
- In a parking lot for 10 or more cars
- On certain other classes of roads
- On school property
Driver Found Drinking and Driving
If a driver is found consuming alcohol, it is a Class C misdemeanor and they may be fined up to $500, imprisoned for a maximum of 3 months, or both. If the driver is under the age of 21, they may also face a 60-day driver’s license suspension if a police officer finds any alcohol, either opened or not, anywhere in the car, but only if they knew or had reason to know it was there.
However, an underage driver can get away with an open container if they are driving with a parent or legal guardian. Another similar situation is when a driver is over 18 and has a state liquor permit. Even if they don’t have a permit, but are performing services related to this permit, an officer most times won’t charge them with open container.
Facing Charges Concerning Open Container Laws?
Even though open container laws are lax in Connecticut, it may be difficult to prove you didn’t know that alcohol was in the car. For this reason and more, it’s important you enlist the legal guidance of a criminal defense attorney immediately.
If you’re charged with a DUI or a violation of open container, contact our Connecticut DUI attorneys at The Sills Law Firm to discuss your legal options. Our firm is not afraid to challenge police reports or witness testimonies on your behalf.