Open container laws in Brooklyn refer to laws that govern when individuals can and cannot possess an open container of alcohol. If you were charged with an open container offense, here’s what you should know.
Definition of an Open Container
An “open container” refers to a bottle, glass, cup, or another type of container of alcohol that is unsealed and the alcoholic beverage inside can be easily accessed. An open container may have a broken seal or may have had some of the alcohol inside consumed or otherwise removed.
The Differences Between Public and Private Consumption
Open container laws prohibit public consumption of alcohol, such as in parks, common areas of buildings, parking lots, and other public spaces. Many people mistakenly assume that this is where open container laws draw the line, and consumption of alcohol in a private vehicle cannot be considered “public.”
However, you may not have an open container in your vehicle either under certain circumstances, such as when the car is in motion. The open container must not be within the reach of the passenger or driver of the vehicle.
If, for example, a partially consumed bottle of wine was found in the trunk of the individual’s vehicle, this is unlikely to be considered a violation of open container laws, since the driver nor the passenger had access to the container while the vehicle was in motion.
Defenses Against Open Container Charges
There are many defenses against an open container charge, including but not limited to:
- Proving the driver nor the passenger had access to the container at any time they were operating the vehicle
- The container was not actually open and only appeared to be; e.g. the driver or passenger could not have consumed alcohol from the container despite its appearance
- The liquid in the container was not alcohol
- The officer who stopped your vehicle did not have the right to do so nor did they have the right to search your vehicle
- You were a hired employee, such as a limo or taxi driver and were unaware that your passengers had an open container of alcohol
When to Contact an Experienced DWI Lawyer
If you were arrested and charged with an open container offense or a DWI, don’t wait to get help from an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Brooklyn DWI lawyer Mark Cossuto has the skills and track record of success to represent your case. Call now for a consultation at (800) 609-4545.