What is the Open Container Law?

The open container law is a legal provision that is designed to ensure the safety of the public. It can be brought into effect in a variety of circumstances that involve the consumption or possession of alcohol. Many people may think that the open container law applies only when someone is being arrested for a criminal offense of driving while intoxicated. However, the open container law can also apply to the consumption of alcohol by people in a public place or while on the grounds of certain institutions.

Why is the Open Container Law Needed?

Open container laws were put into effect in order to accomplish several specific purposes. First and foremost, open container laws are used with the safety of the general public in mind. The consumption of alcohol in a public place can have many negative effects, including dangerous behavior, fighting, criminal activities or vandalism. In this regard, open container laws seek to curb public drunkenness before it can cause such negative behaviors.

Also, open container laws apply when someone is in possession of an alcoholic beverage while operating or riding in a motor vehicle. This is done with the aim of preventing the intoxicated operation of motor vehicles on public highways, which is one of the most dangerous criminal activities in the nation. Also, intoxicated drivers are more likely to engage in violent confrontation with other drivers in the event of a vehicle collision or accident.

Open container laws are also used to ensure that a state continues to receive subsidies for transportation from the federal government. In any state that does not have an open container law on the books, the federal government can immediately rescind any subsidies that are earmarked for the cost of transportation expenses in that state. This is a very serious matter because these federal subsidies cover a great deal of the cost of highway construction and road maintenance in the state.

What Places are Exempt From the Open Container Law?

Some states and municipalities allow the possession of an open container of alcohol in specific areas and at specific times. At present, seven states do not have open container laws that apply to the consumption of alcohol in public. In Louisiana, for example, New Orleans does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol on public sidewalks and streets, but the city does prohibit such consumption in parking lots or from glass containers. Las Vegas also allows the public consumption of alcohol on certain holidays. It should be noted that, while these locations allow public consumption, they strictly enforce laws that prosecute offenses caused by drunkenness, such as disorderly conduct or engaging in argumentative disputes with law enforcement officers.

For additional information on open container laws in the state of Texas, set up an appointment with Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.