Open Container Definition – Louisiana
There are laws that do not allow people to carry on vehicles any type of unsealed bottles, cans, and flasks containing an alcoholic beverage in almost every state. The U.S. federal government has provided guidelines for states on how they can write laws related to open containers. Out of the 50 states, 43 including Louisiana have some form of open container laws in place.
An open container is a bottle, can or any other container that has alcohol inside.
In Louisiana, the open container law prohibits the driver of a vehicle and the passenger, from transporting an alcoholic beverage if the container holding the beverage is open or its contents have been partially removed. Passengers are not allowed to consume an alcoholic beverage while in car that is being driven. However there are some exemptions and they include:
- Passengers riding on a parade float
- People who because of their employment have to carry open alcoholic beverages as long as they do not consume the alcohol
- A person paying to be driven in contract or public carrier vehicle.
- When you are a passenger in a self-contained motor home and the open containers are in the trunk or in a locked glove box. The motor home should be at least 21 feet in length.
- A passenger in a limousine that is privately owned and the driver driving the limo has a Class D commercial driver’s license
- If you are a passenger in a courtesy vehicle being operated as a courtesy vehicle
Frozen Alcoholic Beverage and Daiquiri Drive Through
Frozen alcoholic beverages are excluded only if there is no straw protruding the top and the cup has a lid and no contents have been removed. This is very relevant in Louisiana because of the state’s daiquiri culture. Daiquiri is a variety of cocktails with ingredients such as rum, citrus juice, sugar and others.
In a daiquiri drive through or dispensary, these drinks are often served frozen in cups. In Louisiana this is legal but only if the cup is sealed. A cup is considered sealed if the lid is not and has not been removed and there is no straw protruding out of the cup. The contents of the cup should not be removed partially or completely.
Basically, you cannot buy a daiquiri in a cup and drink it in your vehicle while you are driving. Passengers or krewe members riding on a parade boat can drink it without fear that they will be arrested for doing that.
“Can passengers drink alcohol in a car in Louisiana?”
Both drivers and passengers are prohibited from having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle while the vehicle is being operated on any public road or highway.
Open Container Laws in New Orleans
The city of New Orleans has its own unique laws regarding when and where alcoholic beverages can be consumed. You are allowed to possess and consume alcoholic beverages in open plastic containers in certain districts such as the French quarter.
Consequences of Driving with an Open Container
People who break open container laws in Louisiana face a number of penalties. The first violation is a misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $100.
Law enforcement officers may also ask you to take a field sobriety test if they find an open can or bottle of alcohol in your car. You will be charged with a DWI or a DUI if you fail the test. If this happens to you, be sure to call on an experienced Baton Rouge DUI lawyer from our firm to protect your rights.
By: Danny Russell, Esq.
Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice. ****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.