Open Containers in Public


It may seem obvious that it’s illegal to drink and drive, but did you know in most states it’s even illegal to have an open container of alcohol in public? There is no federal law on the restriction of open containers, but the states are free to legislate the issue. In some cases the state leaves it entirely up to the local level. As a result, from coast to coast, state to state, and even town to town, the United States has quite varied open container laws.

Every state has an outright ban on open containers except for Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. In these states any type of public open container law is from the local government.

While the vast majority of localities have an outright ban on open containers in public, there’s a few interesting exceptions that are worth mentioning. For instance, in Louisiana only the French Quarter of New Orleans allows public alcohol consumption. Even then, the alcohol must be in a plastic container. Butte, Montana on the other hand has no law pertaining to open containers. Las Vegas, Nevada allows public drinking during certain parts of the year while the Las Vegas Strip has no restriction other than the container must be plastic. The Power & Light District of Kansas City permits any open plastic container, contrary to the rest of Kansas City. Savannah, Georgia also permits plastic containers; however they must be 16 ounces or less and are only allowed in the historic district.

With the restrictions on open container laws being so varied it’s only appropriate for the consequences to be just as wide-ranging. Penalties for open container violation are generally mild commonly resulting in a small fine. Of course extenuating circumstances (previous incidents, an altercation, etc.) may effect the punishment.

If you’re ever unsure of the law in your area, it’s probably best to leave the alcohol at home. If you do find yourself facing any alcohol related charge, contact a lawyer specializing in DUI law. Laws regarding alcohol or DUI are complicated and DUI lawyers handle these cases regularly, unlike general defense lawyers.


Using the form below, please submit your contact information and an experienced open container/DUI defense lawyer will immediately respond to your question.



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States/Abbreviations
AK Alaska LA Louisiana OH Ohio
AL Alabama MA Massachusetts OK Oklahoma
AR Arkansas MD Maryland OR Oregon
AZ Arizona ME Maine PA Pennsylvania
CA California MI Michigan RI Rhode Island
CO Colorado MN Minnesota SC South Carolina
CT Connecticut MO Missouri SD South Dakota
DE Delaware MS Mississippi TN Tennessee
FL Florida MT Montana TX Texas
GA Georgia NC North Carolina UT Utah
HI Hawaii ND North Dakota VT Vermont
IA Iowa NE Nebraska VA Virginia
ID Idaho NH New Hampshire WA Washington State
IL Illinois NJ New Jersey WI Wisconsin
IN Indiana NM New Mexico WV West Virginia
KS Kansas NV Nevada WY Wyoming
KY Kentucky NY New York DC Washington DC