Operating a vehicle while inebriated is not a victimless crime. Not only could you seriously harm yourself or anyone else you come into contact with if you crash, but you’ll also be facing serious penalties, including jail time, probation, license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.
In an effort to reduce the number of individuals who choose to drink or use drugs and then drive, Indiana has implemented strict laws surrounding alcohol and motor vehicles. Continue reading to learn more about Indiana’s open container law and the consequences if you are convicted of driving your car with an open alcoholic beverage.
The Open Container Law
Indiana’s open container law explicitly prohibits anyone driving a vehicle from having an open bottle of alcohol in their vehicle. The law includes boats, cars, trucks, and 18-wheelers, but does not apply to those in motor homes. It doesn’t matter if you, as the driver, have not consumed any alcohol—if you have an open alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, you will have broken the open container law.
If you just purchased a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer, and it is unopened, then you have nothing to worry about as you won’t have violated the open container law. If you have an alcoholic beverage that has been opened but you store it in an area that can’t be accessed while driving, such as the trunk, then the open container law will not affect you.
Ramifications of an Open Container Conviction
If you are pulled over and arrested for having an open alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, you can expect to be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines not to exceed $1,000. Passengers who are found to have an open container will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, which could result in up to sixty days in jail and fines of up to $500.
You might think that having a misdemeanor on your record is no big deal, but the fact is that any type of conviction can seriously impact your life. Apart from the previously mentioned penalties, your record will always reflect your conviction, which can affect your ability to find a good job and negatively influence your relationship with your family members.
Consult an Indiana Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with violating an open container law, you need a highly trained Indiana criminal defense lawyer at Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm by your side so you can avoid being found guilty. You can give our office a call at 1-812-232-7400 or fill out the quick contact form below to schedule your initial case review today.