Can You Drive With An Open Container Of Alcohol In MA?
You were wondering if this in option when you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The obvious answer is NO. In Massachusetts, it’s against the law to have an open container of alcohol while driving. Possession of open containers of alcohol is generally prohibited by drivers and passengers.
For an alcohol container to be opened, this means the seal has been broken, or some of the contents have been removed. Thus, if you opened up a bottle of wine, once that seal is broken, it is considered to be “open” and you could be facing a fine and endangering other people while you're out on the road.
The alternative is you are supposed to put any purchased liquor in the trunk of the car, or in a locked glove compartment while driving. Anywhere else inside the car could be considered a “passenger area”, including the driver’s seat. There is a piece of good news regarding this matter: Massachusetts decided that having an open container was not a criminal offense. While in other states, you could get criminally charged for driving with an open container, it is now only a civil violation throughout Massachusetts.
Here is an overview of Massachusetts's open container law: The "passenger area" is the center of attention designed for the driver and passengers to sit while the motor vehicle is operating. It also includes any readily accessible area to the driver or passengers while in a seated position when the vehicle is in motion.
A passenger can lawfully possess an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle that's designed and used for transporting persons for compensation and in the living area of a house coach or house trailer. However, it's unlawful for the driver to possess an open container of alcohol.
An establishment licensed to sell wine can allow customers to take a partially consumed bottle of wine home if the customer purchased a bottle of wine with a meal or the alcoholic beverage of any kind was not totally consumed by the customer, but it is rule of thumb that a driver should not even consider taking a sip while operating a motor vehicle.
Any person who violates the Bay State's open container law commits an infraction, which is punishable by a fine of $100 to $500. A person who is under the age of 18 will face a driver's license or permit suspension. For a first offense, the underage offender's license or permit is suspended for a total of 180 days. For a second or subsequent conviction, the suspension is for one year.
BOTTOM LINE: It's that simple: "DON'T DRINK & DRIVE!"
(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of www.amendolallc.com and www. dui.drivinglaws.org)
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