Can You an Open Container in Your Car in Texas?

I have heard both ways even from cops. So what is the staight dope on this? Can you have a open in you car in Texas(of course not drunk)?

Can you have an open “beer” in your car in Texas? (sorry I was on the phone when I posted this question for a friend that wanted know)

No you can not if you are the driver.

the law…

I think passengers can have open containers, though cities and counties may have (and I almost guarnatee will have) varying statutes regarding passengers with open containers.

Thanks jmull for the cite. But it says “consumes” so doesn’t the cop have to see you drink it to be illegal? Please post I am leaving now but will read later. Thanks once again.

You know it is amazing what I learned after 5 years of drunken revelry at U.T.

The answer is: if the container is open and you are holding it or it is near you (cup holder, between your legs, etc.), you are presumed to have been consuming it if you are pulled over. (A cop could be pulling you over for seeing you consuming it of course.) If you have the presence of mind that the cop didn’t see you sluggin your beer to stick it in the back seat, you might be ok. Depends on the cop, and then depends on the judge. The Texas code gives a lot of discretion all around.

It was made officially illegal in 1986 or 1987. Passengers are allowed to drink though.

Texas is not a true open container state. You can have open containers in Texas, except that the driver can not have one. The cops have plenty of discretion.

Typically, if the front passenger has TWO open containers, and the driver has none, the driver will still get cited. The driver has the option of going to court to convince the judge that his friend is a two fisted drinker.

If the front passenger has ONE open container and the driver has none, but the cop saw the driver hand something to the passenger, the driver may get cited. It depends on how convincing the driver is.

I know that you don’t want to hear from me, **Bill, ** but after all the heat you took about your friend driving drunk, and how much you HATE attorneys (defense and PI), to see you posting questions about how to get out of a speeding ticket and if you can have an open container of alcohol while you’re driving, then your additional protests of “but how would they Prove I was consuming it”…
geez. I’d suggest you start working on adding a defense attorney to your list of friends.

Also, be very cautious. I doubt that many people have an accurate idea of their BAL at any point in time, so your assurance that they’re not “drunk” might be based on limited information.

So, while you’re advising your friend about how to get out of a speeding ticket and/or drinking while he’s driving, you might also want to fill him in about the local paper printing the conviction. It’ll save us all a lot of time.

To prove they have not been drinking if the driver was not all you need to do is ask them to do a breathalyzer test if they do not believe you. Convincing a cop is a waist of time though they have already waisted most of it anyway by pulling you over. If they pulled you over they had a reason for it or you could sue the officer after getting his badge number while recording the situation. Good ol dash cams :slight_smile:

I realize this is a 13 year old Zombie - much longer and this thread will be old enough to drink itself! Just wanted to clarify that the loophole about Texas allowing other passengers to drink has been closed. Nobody is allowed to have an open container in a car in Texas anymore.

A mind is a terrible thing to waist…

How does that Jimmy Buffet song go?..
“Waisted away again in Margaritaville.”

For what it’s worth, “open container” can mean a lot of different things in different jurisdictions. A Kansas cop once told me that if you are from New York and you collect beer cans and you buy a 50 year old can in California and it is in your tool kit stowed with your spare tire in your trunk and you are driving through Kansas, that is an “open container” according Kansas law, and accorded exactly the same status as a half-full whiskey bottle in the drivers hand. An “open container” is considered prime facie evidence that alcohol has been consumed by the occupants of the car.

It can’t seriously be true that an old empty can in your trunk can be considered an open container. Can I get a cite for that please?

What I think is the relevant KS Statute. 8-1599 Transportation of liquor in opened containers unlawful; exceptions; penalty; report of prior convictions; city or county not prohibited from enacting comparable ordinance or resolution, requirements.


Aside, I don’t know whether a completely empty can in the passenger compartment counts as either “alcoholic beverage” or “cereal malt beverage.” I’d need to see some caselaw. I’d want the can to be absolutely dry though.

I am not a lawyer, and even if I was, you aren’t my client. If you feel like you need a lawyer, you should stop reading some clown’s musings on the Internet and go get yourself one.

Uh yeah, right about the time the initial thread was posted is when it became illegal. It’s been nearly 15 years since you could have open containers legally in Texas.

Only a blood test can “prove” you haven’t been drinking. With the current trend among idiots for anal alcohol, a breathalyzer will not register BAC but a blood test will, if you survive long enough to obtain one. Of course, zombies would pass regardless.

Breathalyzers measure the ethanol that has passed through the blood and to the lungs, so I assume they work as well for anal alcohol as oral.

I already told you the “cite” and in my post, I properly attributed it. A statement from a police officer. We’ve already worn out the old “not everything on the internet is true”, now we are to assume that “If it’s not on the internet, it’s not true.”

Check the forum you are in. This is general questions. If you make a claim, you’re supposed to back it up with a verifiable cite. WAGs and anecdotes are not appropriate for this forum when answering a question. A statement you heard is not a cite. However, someone else already provided the relevant statute for Kansas, and it seems as long as it is in a trunk that is locked and inaccessible to the passengers/drivers of the car, then it is legal.