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Open Container Offenses

Fishers, IN DUI Lawyers Defending Against Open Container Charges

Open container charges refer to incidents in which opened alcoholic containers or beverages are found inside a vehicle. Having an open container in your vehicle is illegal in Indiana and most other U.S. states. This includes any container where the seal has been broken, regardless of whether or not the driver has been drinking. In other words, it does not matter if any alcohol was consumed in the car, only that an open container is present. Committing this offense can put a mark on your criminal record and impact your future and freedom.

Were you charged with an open container offense? Contact our lawyers for a free consultation at (317) 434-1490 today.

Can I Have an Open Container in My Car if I am not Drinking?

Possession of an open container in a vehicle is illegal, except when the container is:

  • In a fixed, locked compartment, such as inside the center console
  • Located “behind the last upright seat”
  • In an area not normally occupied by a person, such as the trunk

Open Container Penalties

Open container violations are misdemeanors in Indiana. Drivers convicted of the Class B misdemeanor crime of carrying an open container in their vehicle face fines up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in prison. Passengers who violate this offense are charged with a Class C misdemeanor and face fines up to $500 and a jail sentence up to 60 days.

Is it Illegal to Drink in Public in Indiana?

Indiana does not have restrictions on carrying open containers of alcohol in public, meaning individuals are permitted to do so in public and on sidewalks. However, these individuals run the risk of a criminal charge of public intoxication or other offenses, because Indiana state law prohibits creating a disturbance, breaching the peace, or threatening to breach the peace by annoying or alarming other people. That means while it is not a criminal offense to carry an alcoholic beverage in public, you risk being criminally charged on a related offense.

If you or a loved one was charged with an open container offense in Indiana, contact us at (317) 434-1490. We provide free consultations!

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