Open Containers in Public
All but seven states (Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Pennsylvania) prohibit possessing or consuming from an open container of alcohol in public. In the states that do not have open container legislation local jurisdiction rules apply and these local ordinances usually have zero tolerance for open alcohol drinks.
Zero Tolerance exceptions do exist.
Notable exceptions include:
- Butte, Montana has no open container throughout the city law but does ban open containers in motor vehicles.
- The Power & Light District of Kansas City permits open containers on the street. But they remain expressly prohibited throughout the rest of the city.
- The Las Vegas Strip is the only part of Nevada that allows the possession and consumption on the street of any alcoholic beverage in open throughout the year.
- New Orleans, Louisiana allows the possession and consumption on the street of any alcoholic beverage in an open plastic container.
- In the Historic District of Downtown Savannah, Georgia city law allows the possession and consumption on the street of an alcoholic beverage. It must be in an open plastic cup of not more than 16 ounces.
Open Containers in Motor Vehicles
All states have zero tolerance for open drink containers in motor vehicles either through state laws or local ordinances. Typically, an omission in a state law is covered by local ordinances.
The laws usually cover three areas:
- It is unlawful to possess an open alcohol beverage (or open container) in a motor vehicle when the vehicle is on a public highway or street, lands or in an area of public parking. No passenger shall drink any alcoholic beverage while in a motor vehicle upon a highway.
- No driver or passenger shall have in his or her possession, while in a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, any bottle, can, or other receptacle, containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.
- It is unlawful to keep containers or bottles of alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle passenger area if the container or bottle has been opened or the seal broken. The trunk is OK. The glove compartment is not.
Exceptions are made for the consumption of alcohol in the living quarters of motor homes and in certain for hire vehicles such as a limousine. Under age individuals are never exempted.
It is also unlawful to store alcoholic beverages that are partially open, or with their seal broken in a glove compartment. Trunks are permitted.