Why was I charged with drinking in public?

The law has always been quite unclear as to whether it is permissible to drink in public. The uncertainty regarding this matter is a big reason why people get charged with illegally consuming alcoholic beverages in public. This matter all comes down to what is known as the open container law. These open container laws vary greatly depending where you are in a city or state.

This blog will provide a brief overview into how the open container law works and how to contest an open container law if you have been charged.

What are open container laws?

Open container laws are established in order to maintain a safe and undisturbed environment for local people. The laws prohibit the public consumption of alcohol, or more specifically, the existence of open alcoholic beverages in certain public places. These places include sidewalks and parks. However in some tourist destinations these laws do not apply.

The law can be violated in more unlikely places. For example, if you are caught drinking alcohol within a car parked on a sidewalk where the law applies, you can be charged.

How can I contest an open container law violation?

If you have been charged with violating an open container law, you have several options at your disposal. You have the option to argue that you did not actually violate the open container law. If you also believe that the law enforcement involved in the incident did not follow the law, you can argue this as part of your contestation.

Source: Findlaw, "Open container law," accessed Aug. 25, 2017

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