Have you ever passed a car and witnessed a passenger in the vehicle drinking a beer? It’s not a unique site in Louisiana. Are there laws prohibiting passengers from drinking in cars?
Yes, Louisiana’s open container law makes it a crime for any person to have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. Louisiana law considers an open container to be an unsealed bottle, can, or flasks that contains an alcoholic beverage. This statute covers Amite City
The federal government has provided guidelines to the states on proposed standards for open containers laws. Most states, including Louisiana, adopted the national open container standards. These federal standards can be read here.
Louisiana’s Open Container Law
Louisiana’s open container law is codified in LA Rev Stat § 32:300. The law specifically prohibits the driver and passengers from having an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Further, the law makes it illegal for a passenger to consume alcohol while the vehicle is operated.
Louisiana’s open container law allows for certain exceptions listed in the statute. The exceptions are enumerated below:
- Any person driving or occupying a motor vehicle, as a condition of his employment. And the person is acting in the course and scope of his employment. The employment requires him to carry open alcoholic beverage containers, and the operator or passenger doesn’t consume the alcoholic beverages.
- Any paid fare passenger on a standard or contract carrier vehicle, as defined in R.S. 45:162.
- Any passenger in a commercial public carrier vehicle, as defined in R.S. 45:200.2.
- Any passenger in a courtesy vehicle is operated as a courtesy vehicle.
- Any passenger of a motor home that is self-contained and exceeds twenty-one feet in length.
- Alcoholic beverages carried in the trunk of a motor vehicle.
- If the vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, possession of an open container of alcoholic beverages in any of the following: (a) In a locked glove compartment. (b) In an area of the vehicle not normally occupied by, or readily accessible, to the driver or passengers.
- Passengers members of a krewe riding on a parade float.
- Any passenger in a private limousine the driver of which possesses a Class D commercial driver’s license.
Amite City Ordinances
Amite City has an ordinance Section 11-5028. That makes it illegal to carry possess or drink alcohol from an open container in public. Specifically, it prohibits open containers containing any alcohol either of low on high content, upon any public street, roadway, thoroughfare, right-of-way, sidewalk, park, school property, public building, public land or public waterways within the town.
The prohibition extends to include passengers in motor vehicles and boats as well as the operator of same. Further, a person can not have an open container or a private party’s property without their consent.
Amite City, Louisiana, prohibits the sale of packaged liquor on Sunday.
Drive Through Daiquiri Shops
Louisiana is unique in that it allows drive-through daiquiri shops. Businesses selling alcohol in cups through a drive-through window raises questions concerning the application of open container laws.
How is it legal? Louisiana considers the daiquiri cup legally sealed if:
- The lid is in place on the cup;
- No straw is sticking or inserted anywhere into the container;
- The substance of the drink remains in the cup, that means it hasn’t been partially or entirely drunk.
You’ve been Charged for Violating Louisiana’s Open Container Law, Now What?
If the only charge you received is a violation for having an open container, your penalty should not be more than 100 dollars plus court costs. Be sure and check the statute for the current law to make sure the penalty is current.
The best way to prevent getting an open container violation is to take steps to ensure you comply with the law. If you must transport an alcoholic beverage that has been opened, place it in your trunk or bed of your truck. Don’t risk getting a ticket.