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California Open Container Lawyer – Business And Professions Code 25620 BPC

How Can An Open Container Attorney Help Me?

Open container means that the container holding an alcoholic drink was opened or the contents have been partially removed. In California, open container laws apply to alcoholic beverages in various circumstances such as in public, while driving a vehicle, or underage. Most places in the United States have open container laws that aim to reduce intoxication for people under 21, people operating vehicles, or in public.

The consequences of an open container violation can be serious, especially if not addressed correctly. An experienced criminal defense attorney will defend you and protect your rights and interests. The alcohol crimes lawyers at My Rights Law understand the law and the stakes involved in your case and are ready to fight for you. To learn more or schedule your free initial case consultation, call us at (888) 702-8882 or contact us through our secure web form.

Open Container Law California

An open container violation means possessing an open container of alcohol. A container can be any receptacle—bottle, can, refillable mug, or whatever—containing alcohol that has been opened, the seal broken, or some of its contents removed.[1] Depending on the circumstances of your violation, you can be charged with open container violations in several circumstances.

Underage Open Container:  Business And Professions Code 25620 BPC

Underage open container laws make it illegal for anyone under 21 to possess alcohol unless there is some permitted exception. Under the rule, if you are under 21 and have alcohol in your possession, you have committed an underage open container offense, whether you have consumed any alcohol or not.[2] Exceptions include delivering alcohol to a parent or seeking medical help for themselves or another underage person from drinking alcohol.[3] An underage open container conviction is a misdemeanor, with penalties including a possible fine of $250 and up to 32 hours of community service. In addition, you may face a one-year suspension of your driver’s license or a one-year delay after passing your driver’s test.

Public Open Container:  Business And Professions Code 25620 BPC

Public open container laws use the same open container definition but make it illegal to have that open container in a public place, such as a city park.[4] If you have an open container in a public place, you may be charged with the violation. However, there are a couple of exceptions where an open container in a public place is permitted. For example, if you have an open container at an event licensed to serve alcohol, you will not be charged with open container.[5] If you are convicted of a public open container violation, you may be subject to a maximum fine of $250.

Open Container In A Vehicle:  Business And Professions Code 25620 BPC

Open container vehicle is the most serious of the three open container violations. The laws and penalties for this type of violation are more severe because easy access to alcohol while driving increases the chance that you might drive while impaired, posing serious harm to yourself and others. Open container in a vehicle violations often lead to DUI arrests even if the vehicle driver is not impaired. Under California vehicle code, you may be charged with open container in a vehicle where:

  1. The driver or a passenger is drinking an alcoholic beverage while the vehicle is in operation
  2. Any person in the motor vehicle has a receptacle containing alcohol that has been opened, the seal broken, or some portion of the beverage removed, even if no one is drinking it
  3. Any driver under 21 is driving with an open or closed alcoholic beverage container, except when accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult or as part of the driver’s job[6]

If convicted of open container in a vehicle, you may face fines up to $250. If you are under 21 and driving with alcohol in the vehicle with no permitted exceptions, you may face a misdemeanor, up to six months in jail, a $1000 fine, and having your car impounded.

Open Container Defenses

Defenses to open container charges in California include cases where law enforcement violated the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment against Unlawful Searches and Seizures. There was no alcohol in the passenger compartment, or the driver is licensed to transport passengers. Concerning alcohol not being in the passenger compartment, open containers stored in a trunk, places in the vehicle not normally occupied by passengers, or a locked container will not violate the rules against open containers in vehicles.

Hiring An Open Container Attorney In California

If you have been charged with an open container violation, it is vital that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. My Rights Law understand the law, process, and prosecution’s tactics to help protect your rights and interests. To learn more or schedule your free initial case consultation, call us at (888) 702-8882 or by filling out our secure web form today.

FOOTNOTES
[1] Business and Professions Code 25620
[2] Business and Professions Code 25662(a)
[3] Business and Professions Code 25662(a)
[4] Business and Professions Code 25620(a)
[5] Business and Professions Code 25620(b)
[6] Business and Professions Code 23224

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