Are you breaking the Texas “open containers” law?

Are you breaking the Texas “open containers” law?

We all know it is illegal to drive while intoxicated. But what about driving with open containers?

Are you allowed to drink at a drive-in movie theater? What if you’re camping? Or if you’re just carrying an opened bottle from one place to another?

Texas law says:

“A person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked.”
A violation is a Class C misdemeanor.
  • An “open container” means any container for an alcoholic beverage that is open, has a broken seal, or the contents are partially removed.
  • A “public highway” includes any roads or other publicly available passage for motor vehicle travel.
The “passenger area” of the vehicle does not include:
  • the trunk of your car;
  • “the area behind the last upright seat of the vehicle, if the vehicle does not have a trunk”; or
  • locking glove compartments.

Your take-away:

Don’t hit the road with an open can or bottle in the car (not even if you put the lid or cork back on) unless you can stow it in the trunk.

And there is one more exception: You won’t break the open container law if you are a passenger in a “bus, taxicab, or limousine” or another vehicle “used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation.”

Drive safe, Austin!