In Texas, driving while intoxicated is not the only alcohol-related offense automobile owners face. Open container laws in Texas prohibit individuals from possessing alcoholic beverages in an automobile regardless of whether the individual has consumed the beverage.

In Texas, open containers are prohibited in any seating area of a vehicle, including the driver’s side, passenger side, or backseat. It’s illegal to knowingly possess an open container of alcohol in a vehicle on a public highway. It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is stopped or parked.

The broad application of Texas Statute §49.031 can lead to many arrests. Combatting such a broad statute requires a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can examine the facts of your case to develop a defense aimed at a reduction or complete dismissal of charges.

Open Container in Motor Vehicle Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

If you live in the Tarrant County area and were charged for possessing an open container in your motor vehicle, you are risking losing your license and other serious consequences. You need a criminal defense attorney who can work on your behalf to try to beat these charges.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is prepared to take on your case. Our firm welcomes clients throughout Tarrant County, Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, and Keller, TX area. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (817) 422-5350 today to schedule your confidential consultation.

Open Container in Motor Vehicle under §49.031

Texas Statute §49.031 prohibits individuals from possessing open containers in motor vehicles. The state states that an individual violates this law if he or she knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle located on a public highway.

This restriction applies regardless of whether the automobile is stopped or parked. In addition, possessing multiple containers of an alcoholic beverage in a single occurrence qualifies as a single offense. An individual found in violation of this statute is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of $500 in fines.

Definitions included in §49.031

Texas Code defines the following terms mentioned in §49.031. “Public highway” includes the width between and adjacent to boundary lines of interstates, highways, public roads, or other publicly maintained roadways open for public motor vehicle use. Additionally, “open container” refers to any can, bottle, or receptacle containing drinking alcohol that is open, which has partially removed contents, or has a broken seal.

Lastly, the “passenger area of a motor vehicle” is not limited to the passenger side. This term refers to locked storage containers, glove compartments, trunks, or the space behind the last upright seat if the vehicle lacks a trunk.

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Additional Resources

Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses– Visit the Texas Penal Code website of the Texas State Legislature to find out more about open container laws and related penalties. This site provides statutes for Texas traffic laws. Also, find information on other alcohol-related offenses including driving while intoxicated.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission– Visit the TABC website of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to find out more about applying for alcohol beverage permits for business owners. This website provides information on obtaining an alcohol license under Texas Code 5.31. Also, find more information on underage drinking laws and age verification.

Find an Attorney for Open Container in Motor Vehicle Charges in Denton, Texas | Law Office of Richard C. McConathy

If you reside in Tarrant County or the surrounding areas and you have been charged with possession of an open container offense or another related alcohol-related offense, your time to act is limited. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy are here to help you sort through this complicated time.

Call the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (817) 422-5350 to learn more about this offense and others like it. Our firm helps clients throughout Tarrant County, Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, and Keller, TX area.

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