Having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor in Michigan!
Michigan is one of the states in the US that has an open container law. Open alcohol containers in a vehicle constitute a misdemeanor in Michigan. This means it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
Misdemeanor charges can include up to 93 days of jail and a $500 fine for having an open container in Michigan. Having open intoxicants is a severe offense.
We will discuss everything you need to know about Michigan’s open container law. A Michigan criminal defense lawyer can cover what the law entails, which vehicles it covers, and the penalties for violating it. Stay safe and obey Michigan’s open container law!
Table of Contents
- Having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor in Michigan!
- Open Container Laws in Michigan
- Michigan Open Container Law
- What are the Exceptions to the Open Container Law Michigan?
- Criminal Penalties for Violating Michigan’s Open Container Law
- What are the differences between Open Container Charges and DUIs?
- Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Experienced with Open Container laws today!
Open Container Laws in Michigan
Under Michigan’s open container law, both drivers and passengers are not permitted to transport or keep an open alcoholic beverage in a vehicle. The open container can be in the form of a can, bottle, or flask.
The open container must be sealed and unopened in the vehicle. The container cannot have a broken seal. If it is unsealed, it must be kept in the car’s trunk. If your vehicle does not have a trunk, then it must be stored in an area that is not accessible to the driver or passengers.
The law applies to all vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans, buses, motorcycles, and mopeds. Some exceptions to this law include:
- If you are a passenger in a limousine
- If you are a passenger in a bus that is operated by a common carrier
- If you are a passenger in an RV that is being used as a dwelling
Michigan Open Container Law
Michigan open intoxicant regulations can be found in MCL 257.624a of the Michigan penal code, prohibiting a person from possessing an open container of alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle.
MCL 257.624a Transportation or possession of alcoholic liquor in open or uncapped container open or upon which seal broken; violation as misdemeanor; exception; subsections (1) and (2) inapplicable to passenger in commercial quadricycle; definitions.
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (5), a person who is an operator or occupant shall not transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a container that is open or uncapped or upon which the seal is broken within the passenger area of a vehicle upon a highway, or within the passenger area of a moving vehicle in any place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, in this state.Michigan Penal Code MCL 257.624a
How does the Michigan Open Container Law define alcoholic liquor?
Alcoholic liquor is any liquid or compound containing any amount of alcohol. This includes distilled Liquor, such as brandy, rum, whiskey, and gin. It also has beer and wine.
Having an open container of alcoholic liquor in a vehicle is illegal. If caught, you may be fined and jailed.
You may also have your driver’s license suspended or revoked if you are underage. As you can see, the state law penalties for underage drinkers are much harsher.
How does the law define a motor vehicle?
A “motor vehicle” is any self-propelled vehicle that is designed for operation on a highway. This includes cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and mopeds.
This means it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a car, truck, or other vehicle. The open container can be in the form of a can, bottle, or flask.
The open container laws are designed to prevent drivers from consuming alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. Violators of the open container laws can be subject to fines and other penalties.
What are the Exceptions to the Open Container Law Michigan?
There are a few exceptions to the open container law. There are exceptions for inaccessible areas on a motor vehicle and certain state-authorized charter vehicles.
The key is to keep the open container of alcohol in an area that is not accessible to the driver or passengers. Inaccessible areas in a vehicle, such as a trunk or a locked glove compartment, are exempt from the open container law. If no trunk or glove compartment is locked, an open container can be stored behind the last upright seat.
Additionally, passengers in state-authorized chartered vehicles, like taxis or limousines, are not subject to the open container law. However, it is essential to note that the driver of a chartered vehicle is still subject to the open container law and can be cited for an open container violation if there is an open container in the vehicle’s passenger area.
Criminal Penalties for Violating Michigan’s Open Container Law
Criminal punishment is extensive. Open container laws in Michigan are a misdemeanor offense. Open container violations can include up to a $500 fine. In addition, you can be required to serve up to 93 days in jail can be imposed if you are caught transporting alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle, which are open.
In addition to having a criminal record, having open containers in the motor vehicle can result in community service and an alcohol assessment. These open container offense penalties are in addition to any other penalties that may be imposed.
How many points is an open intoxicant violation in Michigan?
If you are caught with an open container of alcohol in your motor vehicle, you will receive two points on the offender’s driving record. Your license may be suspended if you accumulate twelve or more points on your record within two years.
Accordingly, avoiding being caught with an open container in your motor vehicle is essential. If you must transport alcohol, keep it securely sealed and out of reach of any passengers. By taking simple precautions, you can avoid accumulating points on your driving record and potentially losing your license.
What are the differences between Open Container Charges and DUIs?
There are several differences between open container and DUI, or as they are known in Michigan, OWI charges. A DUI is a much more serious offense.
First, you must be driving or in control of a motor vehicle to be charged with a DUI. There is no requirement that you were operating the vehicle to be charged with an open container charge.
Second, the punishments for drunk driving charges are much harsher than an OWI conviction. You are facing more jail time, higher restrictions on your driving privileges, and more points on your driving record.
Finally, you must have consumed alcohol to be charged with a DUI. A person may not have had a drink of alcohol and still be charged with violating Michigan’s open container law.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Experienced with Open Container laws today!
If you have been charged with an open container or OWI offense, you must seek experienced legal help as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to help you understand the charges against you and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome in your case. All alcohol charges are severe, and having open alcohol can result in jail time and potential loss of driving privileges.
Bruce Law Firm has experienced dui lawyers representing clients who have been charged with open container and OWI offenses. Call us today for a free consultation. Discuss your legal trouble with an experienced open container and OWI lawyer. We will work diligently to get the best possible outcome in your case.