Most states have laws against driving with an open container of alcohol. In Arizona, you cannot have an open alcoholic beverage whether you are the driver or the passenger. There are a handful of states across the country that have exceptions to this type of law. The restriction in Arizona applies to all vehicles on public roads. This includes anyone in the vehicle, both drivers and passengers.
Arizona law prohibits an individual from possessing a container of alcohol with an open seal in a vehicle. The State of Arizona defines “alcoholic beverages” as any drink with at least .5% alcohol. The law also applies to empty containers of alcohol. It is possible to receive an open container charge even if there is no actual alcohol in the vehicle.
If you are charged under the open alcohol container law, you can face up to $750 in fines, up to four months in jail, or both. The charge is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. After a second offense, you may receive a one-year license suspension. You may also have other court-imposed conditions.
Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer or criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid or reduce these penalties. Our lawyers will work with you to determine how best to defend your case.
Recently, Arizona changed its open container law to add “ride-sharing” such as Uber & Lyft. The new exception allows passengers in Uber or Lyft vehicles to possess and consume alcohol. If you are in a ride-share and having an open alcohol container, the state cannot charge you under the law. This can be helpful for your defense.
According to Arizona law, either a driver or a passenger can be accused of having an open container if one is present while a citation is taking place. This is true whether the open container is empty or not.