LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney David P. Gilbert | Sep 4, 2011

Florida Law: Open Container in Motor Vehicle

Under Florida Law, "Open container" means any container of alcoholic beverage which is immediately capable of being consumed from, or the seal of which has been broken.

An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of the operator of a vehicle if the container is not in the possession of a passenger and is not located in a locked glove compartment, locked trunk, or other locked nonpassenger area of the vehicle.

An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of a passenger of a vehicle if the container is in the physical control of the passenger.

It is unlawful for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while operating a vehicle in the state or while a passenger in or on a vehicle being operated in the state.

It is unlawful for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while seated in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section.

There are a few exceptions to the open container law. For example, this section does not apply to passengers of a bus in which the driver holds a valid commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement or a Class D driver's license, passengers of a self-contained motor home which is in excess of 21 feet in length, and passengers of a vehicle in which the driver is operating the vehicle pursuant to a contract to provide transportation for passengers and such driver holds a valid commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement or a Class D driver's license.

An "open container" violation is a non-criminal, non-moving violation. This offense does not carry any points but you may face significant insurance increases whenever you decide to just pay this citation and not challenge it in court. This is especially true for drivers of commercial vehicles or individuals who drive company vehicles. To discuss your case further, please give us a call at (727) 260-5754 for a free consultation.

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