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Open Container Laws in Florida

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

November 5, 2018

If your friend is the designated driver, you’ll see no problem with cracking open a cold one while riding shotgun. Unfortunately, while you’ll see no problem with it, the Florida state police will. Therefore, it’s crucial you understand the laws of Florida before you unintentionally get charged for an open container violation.

What Is an Open Container Violation?

Florida law states “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.”

Many people could have guessed the first half of this law; it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a driver to be drinking while driving; however, many Floridians are shocked at the second half of this law. If a passenger in a moving vehicle drinks, he or she violates Florida’s open container laws.

Surprisingly, the law doesn’t stop there.

Open container laws also state, “it is unlawful (…) for any person to possess an open container of alcohol while seated in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped within a road.”

This statute takes the open container law one step further. Not only is having an open container in a moving vehicle illegal but having an open container while inside a parked car on public property is also illegal: this includes outside your home!

Punishments & Accountability

If you are caught with an open container while in a parked vehicle in Florida, the reality is the police can charge you with an open container violation. Open container violations in Florida are not criminal violations: they are moving violations for drivers. A driver charged with an open container violation will receive 3 points on his or her license for a successful conviction. If that weren’t enough, insurance premiums would increase for anyone guilty of these violations.

Hiring Criminal Representation

Often, open container violations are paired with DUI charges, making for a dangerous cocktail of broken laws. Fortunately, Hager & Schwartz, P.A. has decades of experience working with DUI and alcohol-related violations, and they are here for you!

Need representation now? Call (954) 840-8713 for an immediate consultation!