Salt Lake City Open Container Violations Lawyer
Utah has some of the strictest alcohol laws in the United States. As such, people should be cautious when buying alcohol, especially if they are driving. The state can be pretty restrictive when it comes to its alcohol laws, but that does not mean alcohol consumption is prohibited. However, everything changes if you get caught and found guilty of breaching Utah’s open container or DUI laws. This is especially true since the minimum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) allowed in the state will soon be .05%.
One of the state’s alcohol laws people should be aware of is the open container law. Any person found guilty of breaking this particular state law can face several consequences. Our Salt Lake City open container violation lawyer at Overson Law explains more about this statute and the best way to avoid any violations. Our more than 15 years of experience has given us the knowledge and the skills necessary to handle this type of case. To schedule a free, confidential consultation about your case, call our law offices at (801) 758-2287 today.
Utah’s Open Container Laws and Penalties
Under state law, it’s illegal to transport an opened alcohol container in any vehicle within state limits. Title 41 of Utah’s Motor Vehicle Traffic Code § 41-6a-526(2) states that “A person may not drink any alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle or a class 2 electric assisted bicycle…”. The law provision also extends to any passenger(s) in the vehicle. Additionally, a person could face criminal charges if they are caught carrying an alcohol container that’s been opened or its contents partially consumed.
Anybody found guilty of breaching Utah’s open container law could face fines and jail time. An open container violation is charged as Class C misdemeanor, the lowest criminal charge in the state. A person found guilty of breaching the open container law can face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750. If you incur in several violations of this statute, your charges and penalties could increase. Additionally, your situation may worsen if you are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) or if you are charged with an underage DUI.
Avoiding Penalties for Open Container Violations in a Car
As mentioned, it is illegal to carry and or transport alcohol containers in any vehicle if such containers have been opened. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. People can possess and consume alcohol as passengers on authorized cars such as limousines. Individuals could also possess an alcohol container in public buses. However, consumption of alcohol on these public vehicles is prohibited. Additionally, a person who resides in a motorhome or camper is allowed to consume alcohol in their living space.
One of the ways you could avoid an open container violation is by placing the alcohol container in a place you nor your passenger(s) can reach while the vehicle is in motion. For instance, if you have an open bottle of wine in your car, it should be placed in the trunk of the vehicle where you or your passengers cannot reach. If your car does not have a trunk, you should place the alcohol containers in the back compartment or rear space, behind the last seat. Putting an open container in a place where it can be easily accessed such as the glove compartment can result in a violation of the statute.
As you can see, the State of Utah sets forth specific guidelines dictating how people should transport any alcohol container while driving their vehicle. Every individual should abide by these rules set forth by state law to avoid criminal charges. The safest, most obvious way to avoid penalties is keeping any alcohol container completely sealed. There is no need to risk facing penalties or jail time, especially with such restrictive laws in place.
Salt Lake City Open Container Violation Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
A Class C misdemeanor should always be addressed seriously and swiftly, despite being Utah’s lowest criminal charge. If a person is charged and convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, it will appear in their criminal background check. Having a criminal record can make things like finding a job and obtaining certain loans particularly hard. Don’t be fooled into thinking this criminal charge will merely fade away.
If you or someone you know has faced criminal charges for an open container violation, you need to seek legal help immediately. Our knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyers have more than 15 years of experience handling open container cases in Salt Lake City and throughout Utah. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 today.