New York Open Container Laws

New York Open Container Laws
New York’s Open Container laws make it a crime for drivers or passengers to possess or consume an open bottle of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a vehicle—all open containers must be kept in the trunk, where they are not easily accessible. If you have been caught violating New York Open Container laws and were subsequently arrested for driving while intoxicated, you should consider hiring an experienced defense attorney.

While open container laws are regulated by the state government, the federal government encouraged the states to enact the laws by passing The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). This act contains the suggested guidelines that should be used regarding open container laws. While states were not required to pass open container laws, road maintenance funding in states that did not pass it was used for alcohol education programs. New York is one of the 39 states that passed the open container law.

New York Open Container laws prohibit open alcohol containers in the passenger area or an unlocked glove box where it can easily be reached by the driver and/or passengers. The law applies to all types of containers (i.e., bottles, cans, cups) and all alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer and liquors that contain at least one-half of one percent of alcohol by volume. All vehicles on a public highway, including the shoulder, are subject to the open container law.

The penalties for violating the open container law may include fines and even jail time in some cases. You should speak with a DWI attorney in your area to learn more about the penalties you may face.

Having an open container in your vehicle when you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving may be used as evidence against you during trial. The open container may also give the officer cause to administer a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content.