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How might open container laws impact you?

Open container laws seek to keep people from drinking and driving. They prohibit the presence of open alcohol containers within the passenger area of a vehicle.

The Texas open container law states it is illegal to have an open container within the vehicle. If an officer stops you and finds you in violation of this law, you could face fines and other penalties.

Open container definition

An open container is a vessel holding a beverage containing alcohol that is not in an original, unsealed container. Cracking open a bottle and putting the lid back on without consuming any of it still is an open container under the law.

Location matters

The law forbids keeping an open container in the passenger compartment. This is the area in which people sit in your vehicle. It does not include the trunk. In vehicles that have no separate trunk, it does not include the area designated for cargo. For example, in an SUV, which has no separate trunk area, you would be fine to carry open containers in the rear compartment area.

Other important factors to understand

You should note that having an open container in a vehicle is illegal regardless of whether you are driving. Sitting in a parking lot and drinking beer, for example, is still a violation of this law. As long as you are on public property, it is illegal. The law does not apply to activities on private property.

There are exceptions for limousines or other similar vehicles as long as the alcohol is not consumed or carried in the driver’s area.

Open container laws are rather strict. The point is to keep people from consuming alcohol while operating motor vehicles.


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