Open container laws in California

California residents and people who may live in other states but live in California should understand the state\’s laws about alcohol in vehicles. Certainly there are clear drunk driving laws that govern the amount of alcohol a driver may have in their system before being arrested for driving under the influence. But, the laws do not stop there. There are also regulations that govern what and where alcohol may be kept or transported in vehicles.

Commonly referred to as open container laws, the California Legislative Information explains that no container of alcohol is allowed to be kept by a driver in any area of the vehicle where a person may ride if it has been opened. This includes even a bottle of wine that may appear full but that has had its seal broken, for example. It includes a bottle of any alcoholic beverage that has some of its contents gone.

American TriStar Insurance Services adds that these laws apply to passengers as well as to drivers. Both a passenger and a driver may be able to be cited if a container of alcohol is found in the seating area of a vehicle and is deemed to be an open container. Storing alcohol in a glove box or other compartment that is accessible from the front or back seat of the vehicle may also result in a violation. Open containers of alcohol may be stored or transported in a trunk.

If a vehicle has no trunk and is designated as an off-road vehicle, it may be transported legally if it is secured in a locked compartment or carrying case of some sort.

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