Can I be charged for an open container violation if I had a cap on my beer bottle?

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Can I be charged for an open container violation if I had a cap on my beer bottle?

I was recently pulled over for an open container violation. I had a 40 ounce beer bottle, but it had a lid on it. I had drank some out of it but I had the cap on it when the police caught me with it. Can I still be charged for an open container violation even though the cap was on the bottle?

Asked on May 8, 2009 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Also, be aware of the fact that not only will you get a seperate open container citation, you will be subject to harsher penalties on your DUI charge.  You may want to refer to: www.pamswww.pamsp.com/Images/DUIinPa.pdf 

You really should speak with an attorney about this, preferably one that specializes in DUI cases.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, once the bottle has been opened, it is considered an open container, even if you put the cap back on.  Drinking behind the wheel is extremely dangerous, and the law is designed to prevent that.  No court is going to allow you to get away with drinking behind the wheel -- or with having a beer that you can drink while behind the wheel -- simply by popping or twisting a cap back on the bottle as the police are pulling you over.


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