Texas Penal Code 49.031 – Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle
WHAT IS POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against possession of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle prohibits open containers of alcohol in the passenger areas of vehicles, whether parked or in motion.
- What is an open container in Texas? Texas Penal Code Section 49.031 defines an “open container” as a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed. Learn more.
- What are examples of open containers in Texas? Under Texas law, open containers include anything holding an alcoholic beverage. Flasks, soda cups with liquor mixed in, bottles or cans of alcohol, and any other cup, glass, bottle, can, or other container.
WHAT IS THE POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 49.031. POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE
(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked. Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal episode is a single offense.
(c) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b) that at the time of the offense the defendant was a passenger in:
(1) the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxicab, or limousine; or
(2) the living quarters of a motorized house coach or motorized house trailer, including a self-contained camper, a motor home, or a recreational vehicle.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(e) A peace officer charging a person with an offense under this section, instead of taking the person before a magistrate, shall issue to the person a written citation and notice to appear that contains the time and place the person must appear before a magistrate, the name and address of the person charged, and the offense charged. If the person makes a written promise to appear before the magistrate by signing in duplicate the citation and notice to appear issued by the officer, the officer shall release the person.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
Possession of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $500 fine.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for possession of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle, a Class C misdemeanor, is a fine of up to $500, and no jail time.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
A person charged with possession of an open container in a motor vehicle may be eligible for deferred adjudication for a period not to exceed 180 days. If convicted of open container, a Class C misdemeanor, there is no probation, and a person may only be punished by a fine.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The Texas open container statute does not authorize defenses for possession of an open container. The law creates exceptions for open containers in motor vehicles designed to be used as living quarters, such as motorhomes and RVs, as well as vehicles used for professionally transporting people, such as limousines, buses, and taxis.
- Can a person be arrested for open container in Texas? No. A police officer may only issue a ticket, and may not arrest the person for an open container.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The limitations period for possessing an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle, a Class C misdemeanor, is two years.
POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS
Possession of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor. A person may not be arrested for an open container, but may be given a ticket. Learn more.
TEXAS POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE COURT CASES
The case law regarding possession of alcoholic beverage in motor vehicle in Texas shows how police may use suspicion of possessing an open container to search the rest of a person’s car.
- In Harding v. State, the defendant was stopped for speeding, and the police officer smelled alcohol coming from the car. Based on suspicion of possession of an open container, the officer searched the vehicle, and found drugs in the car. The defendant argued the officer lacked probable cause to search the vehicle, but the trial court denied the motion to suppress. The appellate court affirmed, holding the officer had probable cause to believe the defendant was in possession of an open container.
Glowing Client Reviews
Trey is the man! I hired him because I had overheard a county court judge mentioning how awesome of an attorney he is, so if an endorsement from a judge won’t convince you then I’m not sure what will. I sure do hope I never find myself in a pickle ever again but if I do, I would hire Trey in a heartbeat. He’s honest, transparent, doesn’t beat around the bush, and will work tirelessly so that your clean record stays clean and unblemished. 5 stars, highly recommend!
I recently hired Trey Porter Law to help our teenage daughter with a drug charge. In the state of Texas she was being charged as an adult which carried a much stiffer penalty. Trey is very responsive, helpful, knowledgeable and is always available to answer any questions or concerns via phone, text or email. He was able to negotiate on her behalf so it was a pleasant experience. I would highly recommend Trey Porter Law.
Trey really helped me out. He was straight forward and professional, and really helped me in my case. I thought i was going to lose my job, but trey did everything in his power to help me keep my way of life, and still keeps up with me any details on my case.
I really appreciated all he did for me.
Trey is a phenomenal attorney that gets the job done right! He is dedicated to help his clients.
He made himself available and answered all my concerns immediately! I had faith in him and he continued to prove his expertise by helping me. I highly recommend Trey Porter!!
Trey Porter fought for me! I am a nurse and thought my career was over.
Very thankful I got Trey Porter involved. He responds to messages regularly and was very thorough.
He saved my career. Forever grateful!
Mr Porter is the real deal. You get what you pay for these days. I know that from my personal business dealings. Attorney Trey Porter was no different.
He was prompt, professional and poised. I was charged with DWI, and Mr Porter got the charge dismissed. I could not be more pleased or thankful. If you get a DWI, hire the best — hire Trey Porter.
WE FIGHT FOR DISMISSAL
WE FIGHT FOR DISMISSAL
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
Contact Trey Porter Today
Request a free consultation
The stakes are high. Criminal charges can have devastating, lifelong consequences. During the free, confidential consultation, Mr. Porter will answer questions surrounding your legal matter, and discuss and identify potential defenses.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the State is working on your conviction. It’s time to start building your defense.