The possession of an open container of alcoholic drinks in a motor vehicle is prohibited per Florida Statute Section 316.1936.
Although possession of an open container in a motor vehicle is a criminal violation in other places, it is just a civil infraction in the state of Florida if prosecuted under state law.
Other sorts of open container infractions are prosecuted as felonies under state law or as ordinance violations under local municipal law. Alcohol-related offenses are normally penalized by up to 60 days in prison, 6 months probation, and a $500 fine.
Operating a vessel or boat while in possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage is not prohibited under Florida law, however operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol is.
Specifics on Open Container Law in Florida
Having a designated driver is essential in any circumstance where alcohol will be consumed. Having a designated driver, on the other hand, does not grant a person the freedom to drink anywhere he or she wants.
An open container of alcohol in an automobile is prohibited per Florida Statute 316.1936. To condemn someone under the Open Container Statute, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person violated the Statute. According to Florida Statute 316.1936 as an answer for “Is there an open container law in Florida” question you might have been wondering:
- Any individual who has an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consumes an alcoholic beverage while driving a vehicle in this state or while a passenger in or on a vehicle being driven in this state is breaking the law.
- It is illegal to have an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while sitting in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped on a road. Exempt are passengers in vehicles constructed, maintained, and utilized principally for the transportation of humans for remuneration, as well as passengers in motor homes.
- An open container is regarded to be in the operator's possession if it is not in the custody of a passenger and is not placed in a lockable glove box, locked trunk, or other secured non-passenger portion of the vehicle.
- An open container is regarded to be in the custody of a vehicle passenger if the container is under the passenger's bodily control.
Do I Get to Drink As a Passenger?
Open alcoholic drinks that are immediately capable of being consumed while operating a motor vehicle are prohibited under Florida Statute 316.1936. Passengers are likewise covered by the Statute. As a result, being in the passenger or rear seat of a car does not provide authorization to consume alcohol.
Is It Illegal Walking with An Open Container in Florida?
Although it is not legally the same as open container legislation, which applies to alcohol inside a motor vehicle, many people ask whether walking about in public with alcohol is permissible. It is prohibited to consume alcohol or be inebriated in a public location, according to Florida Statute 856.011. Both offenses are classified as second-degree misdemeanors.
What Are The Florida Penalties for Open Container Florida Violations?
The following are the normal penalties for being charged with an open container offense in the state of Florida:
- Any vehicle operator who violates this clause commits a noncriminal moving traffic offense. A passenger in a vehicle who violates this clause commits a nonmoving traffic infraction as well.
- Anyone charged with a noncriminal offence must be cited for that infraction and appear in front of an authority. If the individual charged fails to appear within 30 days of the citation's issue, he or she must pay the civil penalty and late fee or engage into a payment plan.
- Importantly, if a person pays the civil penalty, he or she is assumed to have accepted the offense and waives the right to a hearing on the matter of commission of the infraction.
- Local governments and city politicians in Florida have the authority to raise the severity of open container fines as they see fit.
Is It Always Illegal to Transport An Open Container in Florida?
One of the most commonly asked inquiries about Florida's open container rules concerns open alcoholic containers on game days. In Florida, sports are enormous spectacle events, and fans often enjoy a beer or two while watching the game.
Sports Events or Game Days
The ability to have an open container on game day is typically determined by the facility's alcoholic beverage policy. According to the University of Florida's "Rules for Tailgating at University of Florida Football Game Days," "open containers of alcohol must be maintained inside the local tailgating area and are not authorized on public streets, sidewalks, and thoroughfares."
Some businesses may waive open container rules for a limited time. Open container rules are not enforced or relevant at the University of Central Florida (UCF) during specified hours before a home football game and are exclusively waived on UCF's Main Campus.
Furthermore, open container regulations may not apply in every circumstance. Florida Statute 316.1936 is not applicable in the following circumstances:
- A passenger in a vehicle in which the driver is driving the vehicle in accordance with a contract to offer passenger transportation and carries a valid commercial driver's license with a valid passenger endorsement.
- A passenger on a bus driven by a commercial driver's license with a valid passenger endorsement.
- A passenger in a self-contained motor home that is longer than 21 feet.
Fight Your Open Container Florida Charge
Because open container accusations sometimes entail blatant infractions, they may be difficult to defend against. In every circumstance, a skilled attorney may make the following arguments:
- The beverage was at a location where it is permissible to have open containers in a vehicle;
- The beverage was not really classifiable as an alcoholic beverage;
- The automobile was not operating on a public highway or in a restricted area.
However, keep in mind that counties and localities have their own rules on the carrying of alcohol in automobiles. Contact Browning Law for expert legal representation if you are facing an open container offense or any other alcohol-related charge.
Schedule your free consultation with us today!