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Minneapolis DWI Lawyer Asks You to Stay Aware of the Open Bottle Law

On Behalf of | May 14, 2015 | Firm News |

A crime that can easily goes hand-in-hand with a DWI arrest and subsequent charges is violation of Minnesota’s Open Bottle Law.

For example, a man recently arrested in Monticello Township was found to have a record of various violations including DWI, driving with a revoked license, and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

What does it mean to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle?

  • The container must include some kind of distilled spirit, or a malt or alcoholic beverage with an alcohol content of over 0.5%.
  • To get charged with this crime, it’s not enough to have an open container in your vehicle. It also needs to be in an area if your vehicle that driver or passengers can readily access. For example, an open container in the front seat drink holder could land you with a criminal charge, but not when it’s in your trunk.
  • An open container doesn’t have to be fully open. For example, if a seal is broken on an otherwise closed container, this could count as a violation.
  • Also – and this comes as a surprise to many people – you don’t have to be operating your vehicle or present at the scene to get charged with this offense. If police officers notice an open container in your parked vehicle, you could get into legal trouble.

Violation of the Open Bottle Law is a misdemeanor. Penalties include up to three months in jail and/or hundreds of dollars in fines. Given that the violation can show up on your criminal record, disrupt your life and drain your finances, it’s important to contact an experienced Minneapolis DWI lawyer to assist in your defense.

It’s also possible that you were charged with this crime along with several others, such as DWI or driving without a license. Whatever the circumstances happen to be, you’ll need strong legal representation.