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Arkansas open container law?

Pangburn, AR |

My wife and I recently went through a safe driving check point (road block). The officer asked for my drivers license and asked me if we had any thing to drink that night. I told him no. He said he smelled intoxicants and asked me to pull over to the side. I did and he found a half of a beer in the door drink holder. It had been there for a day or two. We didnt know at the time it was in the car. He accused us of lying and my wife told him he was acting like a jerk. He pushed her against the car, and hand cuffed her. He give us both breathalizers and we both registered .000. He had another officer take the cuffs off and then wrote my wife a ticket for open container and made her poor out the rest of the beer. Are we just unfortunate victims of bad timing? Should we take our chances in court?

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Attorney answers 2


Although it appears the officer acted the way he did because your wife told him he was acting like a jerk, you admit to having an open container of alcohol which is a violation. Only you can decide if you want to press the case and go to court or settle it by paying the ticket.



This is what I found about the code on the ticket. We can answer NO to all of the above. Arkansas 5-71-212. Public intoxication - Drinking in public. (a) A person commits the offense of public intoxication if he or she appears in a public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the degree and under circumstances such that: (1) The person is likely to endanger himself or herself or another person or property; or (2) The person unreasonably annoys a person in his or her vicinity. (b) Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor. (c) A person commits the offense of drinking in public if the person, other than in a place of business licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, consumes any alcoholic beverage: (1) In any public place; (2) On any highway or street; (3) Upon any passenger coach, streetcar, or in or upon any vehicle commonly used for the transportation of passengers; or (4) In or about any depot, platform, waiting station or room, or other public place. (d) Drinking in public is a Class C misdemeanor. Also, the beer can had been used as a spittoon for my smokeless tobacco making it undrinkable. I know it is a bad, disgusting habbit.


In Arkansas there is no open container law. Our law is for drinking on the highway. The language of the statute is very specific. Since you and your wife had not been drinking on the highway there is no violation. It may not be worth hiring an attorney (it is only a class c misdemeanor and has a realatively low fine), but it is certainly worth fighting if you are so inclined. The Statute can be found at Arkansas Code Annotated 5-71-212. It is under part c of the public intoxication statute. Good luck.

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