Hablamos Español
Protecting people's rights,
that's what I'm all about
Free Case Evaluation
(713) 589-8855
Phones Answered 24/7
Why Hire Me

Experienced and Aggressive Representation

Read More >
Office Location

Law Office of Justin T. Surginer
8831 Long Point Rd Ste 401
Houston, TX 77055

(713) 589-8855

view directions >

Open Container

Most people know that driving drunk is dangerous and against the law in Texas. However, some people may not realize that in certain areas it is a crime to have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, even if no one is drunk or drinking.

What Is the Open Container Law?

This law makes it a criminal offense to have an unsealed or opened quantity of alcohol in a vehicle in any place other than the trunk, a locked glove compartment or behind the last upright seat in vehicles with no trunks. For example, having an open beer or a bottle of liquor with the cap unscrewed in the rear passenger seat is a crime in Houston.

Also, a driver and a passenger may both be cited for violating this law if the passenger has an opened alcoholic beverage, even if neither of them were consuming alcohol in the car. This charge can also be applied if the car is stopped or parked anywhere near or on a public road.

Alcoholic Beverages Penalties

This crime is a Class C misdemeanor in Houston. It is a relatively minor offense but repeat offenses can warrant enhanced penalties. Also, violating this law can enhance the penalties for a DWI charge. According to the Texas Penal Code, penalties include:

Legal Defenses

Defending against this charge can be slightly difficult in Texas. This is because the court makes no distinction of ownership in this offense. This means that even if the driver and passenger had no idea that there was alcohol with a broken seal in the car, they can still both be cited and fined.

A defense lawyer may be able to convince a judge to allow the defendant to complete alcohol awareness classes in return for deferred adjudication plus a fine. If the defendant successfully completes all the adjudication requirements, his record may be expunged and it will be as if the charge was never filed.

Request a Call
 I have read the
Case Results
  • DWI - Harris County
    Young man seen leaving nightclub by a police officer. Client takes and fails field sobriety tests and breathalyzer test.
    Not guilty
  • Possession of Marijuana- Harris County
    Client set for trial on two possession of marijuana cases. Client admits to owning all marijuana in the vehicle on video. Motion to suppress granted.
    Cases dismissed
  • DWI - Harris County
    Client found passed out behind the wheel of a car by police officer after crashing into a light post.
    Case dismissed
  • Solicitation of Prostitution - Matagorda County
    Prison guard arrested for soliciting an undercover police officer. All was captured on audio recording.
    Jury trial, not guilty
More Results >
Recent Blog Posts