Open container laws in Florida

Hopefully, everyone should know never to drink before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. You certainly do not want to end up like a recent Florida man who chugged a beer at his traffic stop. Police promptly escorted him to jail.

Florida has strict open container laws you need to stay on the right side of. If you plan on driving a vehicle with alcohol in it, then you are best off placing the alcohol in the trunk of the vehicle where it is out of your reach.

What is an open container?

Certain criteria need to be present for an officer to arrest you for violating open container laws. You need to be on the highway or a public road instead of a parking lot or private driveway. The container of alcohol must be within your reach. The police must find the bottle with the seal already broken and some of the contents missing.

Can both the driver and passengers face arrest?

Drivers should make a point to make sure none of the passengers consume alcohol while the vehicle is in motion. If the police pull you over as a driver, then they can still issue you a ticket because the alcohol is still in your possession. You may be completely sober, but it was within your power to grab a drink and consume it.

A passenger can also receive a citation if the drink is within his or her control. The state views this as a noncriminal moving traffic violation, which could result in possible jail time and a fine. This law also applies to Uber and Lyft drivers. In the event a passenger using the service drinks alcohol inside the car, the ridesharing driver could face penalties as well. The only exception is if the passengers consume alcohol in a car in which the driver has a valid commercial driver’s license and currently operates a bus or RV.

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