California's "Open Container" Laws & Penalties (2023)

Is it a crime to drive with an "open container"?

California open container laws make it illegal for motorists to possess an alcoholic beveragethat has been opened or the seal broken, even if the alcohol is not actually being consumed.

This offense is typically an infraction, punishable by a maximum $250 fine.12However, if you are a driver or passenger under 21 and are caught violating this law, you face a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.3

The good news is that there are a variety of legal defenses to this charge. These include (but are not limited to):

  • the alcohol was in the trunk,
  • you were in a “hired” car, such as a taxi, bus or limousine,
  • there was no probable probable cause for the police to stop you, or
  • the police only discovered your open container because they performed an illegal search and seizure.

In this article, our California criminal defense attorneys4 will address the following:

  • 1. What is California law as to driving with an open container of alcohol?
    • 1.1. Regarding minors: Vehicle Code 23224 VC
  • 2. Is it possible to fight the ticket in court?
    • 2.1. The alcohol was in the trunk of the car
    • 2.2. The alcohol was in a bus, taxi, limousine, “housecar” or camper
    • 2.3. The officer didn’t have probable cause to investigate you
    • 2.4. The open container was discovered during an illegal search and seizure
  • 3. Are these criminal offenses or infractions?
  • 4. Related Offenses
    • 4.1. Vehicle Code 23152 VC California’s law against driving under the influence
    • 4.2. Penal Code 647(f) PC California’s drunk in public law
    • 4.3. Vehicle Code 23222(b) California’s law against driving in possession of marijuana

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

California's "Open Container" Laws & Penalties (1)

It is illegal for a person to drive with an alcoholic beverage in the vehicle that has been opened

(Video) California Open Back

1.What is California law as to driving with an open container of alcohol?

There are a variety of California laws that all essentially prohibit the same conduct: driving (or riding in) a car with an open bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage. These laws are codified in

  • Vehicle Code 23221 VC – drinking in a car,
  • Vehicle Code 23222(a) VC – possessing an open container in a car,
  • Vehicle Code 23224 VC – possession of an open container in a car by a person under 21,
  • Vehicle Code 23225 VC – storing open containers in a trunk,
  • Vehicle Code 23226 VC – storing open containers in the passenger compartment,
  • Vehicle Code 23229 VC – exceptions for in-hire vehicles, and
  • Vehicle Code 23229.1 VC – prohibition of in-hire vehicles from storing alcohol when transporting persons under 21.

The word “open” doesn’t literally mean that there is no top on the beverage, but rather that the beveragehas

  • been opened,
  • a broken seal, or
  • been partially or entirely consumed.

As Orange County criminal defense attorney John Murray5 explains:

“This is the case whether or not you…or anyone else in the car…is actually drinking the beverage. Just having the open container in the car is illegal in and of itself…and the reason we refer to these laws as California’s open container laws.”

But before you can be convicted of this offense, the prosecutor must prove that youpossessedthe open container. This means that if, for example, you are one of five passengers in a car, you can’t be convicted of violating California’s open container law unless the prosecutor can prove that the container was either on your person or under your control. In other words, it has to be connected to you, not just to the car.6

And if you actuallyconsumethe alcoholic beverage while riding in or driving the car, you will be cited underCalifornia Vehicle Code 23221 VC, which is an infraction…and possibly for driving under the influence as well (described below inSection 4.1.).7

1.1. Regarding minors: Vehicle Code 23224 VC

If you are under 21…the legal age for drinking alcoholic beverages in California…Vehicle Code 23224 VC, California’s law on underage possession of alcohol in a vehicle law, prohibits you from

  1. driving a car knowing that it contains any alcoholic beverage (whether opened or unopened), or
  2. being a passenger in a car and knowingly possessing an alcoholic beverage (again, regardless of whether it is opened or unopened).

However, if you…as either the underage driver or the underage passenger…were

  1. accompanied by a parent or guardian,
  2. were following reasonable directions from a parent or guardian about what to do with the alcohol, or
  3. were driving or riding as a passenger in a car and you were transporting the alcohol pursuant to the course and scope of your lawful employment,

then those facts will serve as a valid legal defense to the charge.

If these defenses do not apply to your particular case…and you are the registered owner of the car…your car will be impounded for anywhere from one to thirty days.

(Video) Charles Nichols Challenges California's Open Carry Ban

And all violations of this section subject an offender to

  1. aCalifornia misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine, and
  2. a driver’s license suspension for one-year (or a one-year delay in obtaining your license if you do not already have a driver’s license).8

2. Is it possible to fight the ticket in court?

There are a variety ofCalifornia legal defensesthat a skilled criminal defense attorney can present on your behalf – some that are specific to this charge and some that are more general. A sample of the most common follow.

2.1. The alcohol was in the trunk of the car

If you were driving with an open containerin the trunk of the car, you are not guilty of violating California’s open container laws – period. And if there is no trunk in the car, but the open container was

  1. in an area of the car that is not normally occupied by people…perhaps in the bed of a pickup truck, or
  2. in a locked container,

you should be acquitted of this offense.9

2.2. The alcohol was in a bus, taxi, limousine, “housecar” or camper

Passengers in or drivers of a bus, taxi, limousine, “housecar” or camper are exempt from prosecution under California’s open container laws for possessing an open container. Passengers in such vehicles are permitted to drink – drivers are not.10

However, if there are minors under 21 in one of these vehicles, California’s open container laws apply, and open containers will not be permitted to be inside these vehicles without being properly stored as indicated above. The exception lies with limousines, as alcohol may be locked in these cars in an area that is normally occupied by passengers.11

2.3. The officer didn’t have probable cause to investigate you

Even if you did drive with or possess an open alcoholic beverage in violation of California’s open container laws, your charge should be dismissed if the officer who discovered the open container did so without probable cause.

Probable cause under California lawmeans a reasonable belief that a crime is or was taking place. Probable cause is the government’s way of assuring the public that officers can’t simply stop anyone they wish at any time they wish. Before the police can stop you, they must be able to point to “specific articulable facts” that validate their belief that you are or were engaged in a crime.

If, for example, you were speeding or ran a stop sign, the police would be entitled to pull you over. If, at that point, they notice an open container, the charge would be valid. But if the cops pull you over for no legal reason…perhaps they just don’t think you fit the “profile” of the neighborhood…and then discover the open container, the stop would be ripe for a probable cause challenge.

Example:The defendant and a companion are parked in a car in her driveway which is visible from the street. As cops drive by, they see her drinking a beer and approach the vehicle to cite her for VC 23222(a). The police ask the defendant and passenger to exit the car and, after they do, one of the cops spots a jar of PCP.

Because a private driveway does not qualify as a highway or other “lands” as defined under California’s open container law, the police did not have probable cause to approach the car in the first place, as no crime was being committed. As a result, neither the open container nor the PCP were allowed into evidence and, as a result, the charges were dismissed.12

2.4. The open container was discovered during an illegal search and seizure

Similarly, even if you are technically guilty of the violation…but the officers only discover the open container because they violatedCalifornia’s search andseizure laws, then we should be able to get the charge dismissed for just that reason.

(Video) California Open Invitation

This means that if the police discover the open container

  1. without probable cause,
  2. without arresting you for another violation, or
  3. without your consent to search the car,

then it may be possible to get the evidence excluded and the case dismissed.

California's "Open Container" Laws & Penalties (2)

A violation of the open container laws can result in a fine

3. Are these criminal offenses or infractions?

California’s open container laws areCalifornia infraction charges, which means they do not carry jail time but are only punishable by a maximum $250 fine.13The exception to this rule applies to underage possession of alcohol…a California misdemeanor offense…whose penalties are noted above underSection 1.1. Regarding minors: Vehicle Code 23224 VC.14

But as insignificant as this may seem, these violations will also likely result in points on yourCalifornia DMVrecord and…if charged in connection with a DUI…will probably cause a prosecutor and/or judge to sentence you to a mandatory jail sentence.

Keep in mind that aminor in possession of alcoholalso violates. This section is a misdemeanor making it illegal for a minor to be in possession of alcohol in any public place. It is punishable by community service, a fine, and/or a one-year revocation of the minor’s driving privileges.

4. Related Offenses

There are a number of offenses that are closely related to California’s open container laws because they are either charged in connection with or in lieu of these charges. The following are three of the most common:

4.1. Vehicle Code 23152 VC California’s law against driving under the influence

California’s law against driving under the influenceprohibits just that…driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).15If you are arrested for DUI and have an open container in the car at the time, that fact will serve as an aggravating factor in your DUI sentence.

So, for example, a first-time DUI offender who might not otherwise be required to go to jail may have to serve at least 48 hours if he/she was caught either drinking or carrying an open container of alcohol at the time of the offense.

(Video) Feds offer $1B to keep California's last nuclear plant open

For further discussion, please see our article on the difference between open container and DUI.

4.2. Penal Code 647(f) PC California’s drunk in public law

You violateCalifornia’s drunk in public lawwhen you are so intoxicated that

  1. you are unable to exercise care for your safety or for the safety of others, or
  2. you interfere with, obstruct, or prevent others from using streets, sidewalks, or other “public ways.”16

The following is an example of how this charge would come into play with an open container charge.

Example:TheLAPDreceives a call that a driver is passed out in his car in traffic lanes in downtown L.A. Officers approach the car and find the driver slumped behind the steering wheel with the car lights off, the engine running and a whiskey bottle, nearly empty, on the seat beside him.

Given these facts, the police are justified in arresting the driver for being drunk in public and in citing him for violating California’s open container laws.17

4.3. Vehicle Code 23222(b) California’s law against driving in possession of marijuana

While Vehicle Code 23222(a) prohibits driving in possession of an open container, Vehicle Code 23222(b) specifically prohibitsdriving in possession of marijuanain California. Considered even less serious than driving with an open container, driving in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is an infraction, punishable by a maximum $100 fine.18

Call us for help…

California's "Open Container" Laws & Penalties (3)

Call us for help

If you or a loved one is charged with Vehicle Code Sections 23221 – 23229 VC open container and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in the office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

For information about Nevada open container laws, go to our article onNevada open container laws.

(Video) The Damn Quails "California Open Invitation"

Legal References:

  1. California Vehicle Code 23221 VC--Drinking in motor vehicle upon highway. (“(a) No driver shall drink any alcoholic beverage while in a motor vehicle upon a highway. (b) No passenger shall drink any alcoholic beverage while in a motor vehicle upon a highway.”) See also California Vehicle Code 23222 VC — Possession of open container containing alcoholic beverage or marijuana while driving a motor vehicle; penalty. (“(a) No person shall have in his or her possession on his or her person, while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle, containing any alcoholic beverage which has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed. (b) Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses, while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, not more than one avoirdupois ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis as defined by Section 11006.5 of the Health and Safety Code, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100).”)See also California Vehicle Code 23223 VC — Possession of opened container in a motor vehicle. (“(a) No driver shall have in his or her possession, while in a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle, containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed. (b) No passenger shall have in his or her possession, while in a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.”)See also California Vehicle Code 23224 VC – Possession of alcoholic beverage in vehicle; persons under 21; penalties. (“(a) No person under the age of 21 years shall knowingly drive any motor vehicle carrying any alcoholic beverage [regardless of whether it is an open container or not], unless the person is accompanied by a parent, responsible adult relative, any other adult designated by the parent, or legal guardian for the purpose of transportation of an alcoholic beverage, or is employed by a licensee under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (Division 9 (commencing with Section 23000) of the Business and Professions Code), and is driving the motor vehicle during regular hours and in the course of the person’s employment. If the driver was unaccompanied, he or she shall have a complete defense if he or she was following, in a timely manner, the reasonable instructions of his or her parent, legal guardian, responsible adult relative, or adult designee relating to disposition of the alcoholic beverage. (b) No passenger in any motor vehicle who is under the age of 21 years shall knowingly possess or have under that person’s control any alcoholic beverage [regardless of whether it is an open container or not], unless the passenger is accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, responsible adult relative, any other adult designated by the parent, or legal guardian for the purpose of transportation of an alcoholic beverage, or is employed by a licensee under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (Division 9 (commencing with Section 23000) of the Business and Professions Code), and possession or control is during regular hours and in the course of the passenger’s employment. If the passenger was unaccompanied, he or she shall have a complete defense if he or she was following, in a timely manner, the reasonable instructions of his or her parent, legal guardian, responsible adult relative or adult designee relating to disposition of the alcoholic beverage. (c) If the vehicle used in any violation of subdivision (a) or (b) is registered to an offender who is under the age of 21 years, the vehicle may be impounded at the owner’s expense for not less than one day nor more than 30 days for each violation. (d) Any person under 21 years of age convicted of a violation of this section is subject to Section 13202.5. (e) Any person convicted for a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished upon conviction by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”)See also Vehicle Code 23225 VC – Storage of opened container. (“(a)(1) It is unlawful for the registered owner of any motor vehicle to keep in a motor vehicle, when the vehicle is upon any highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed, unless the container is kept in the trunk of the vehicle. (2) If the vehicle is not equipped with a trunk and is not an off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification, as defined in Section 38012, the bottle, can, or other receptacle described in paragraph (1) shall be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is not normally occupied by the driver or passengers. For the purposes of this paragraph, a utility compartment or glove compartment shall be deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver and passengers. (3) If the vehicle is not equipped with a trunk and is an off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 38012, the bottle, can, or other receptacle described in paragraph (1) shall be kept in a locked container. As used in this paragraph, “locked container” means a secure container that is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device. (b) Subdivision (a) is also applicable to a driver of a motor vehicle if the registered owner is not present in the vehicle. (c) This section shall not apply to the living quarters of a housecar or camper.”)See also California Vehicle Code 23226 VC – Keeping open container in passenger compartment of motor vehicle; exceptions. (“(a) It is unlawful for any driver to keep in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle, when the vehicle is upon any highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed. (b) It is unlawful for any passenger to keep in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle, when the vehicle is upon any highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed. (c) This section shall not apply to the living quarters of a housecar or camper.”)See also California Vehicle Code 23229 VC – Possession of alcoholic beverage in for-hire vehicles; exceptions [to California’s open container laws]. (“(a) Except as provided in Section 23229.1, Sections 23221 and 23223 do not apply to passengers in any bus, taxicab, or limousine for hire licensed to transport passengers pursuant to the Public Utilities Code or proper local authority, or the living quarters of a housecar or camper. (b) Except as provided in Section 23229.1, Section 23225 does not apply to the driver or owner of a bus, taxicab, or limousine for hire licensed to transport passengers pursuant to the Public Utilities Code or proper local authority. (c) This section shall become operative on July 1, 1989.”)See also California Vehicle Code 23229.1 VC – Application of prohibition against possession or storage of opened container to charter-party carrier of passengers while transporting passenger under 21; forwarding record of conviction to public utilities commission. (“(a) Subject to subdivision (b), Sections 23223 and 23225 apply to any charter-party carrier of passengers, as defined in Section 5360 of the Public Utilities Code, operating a limousine for hire when the driver of the vehicle transports any passenger under the age of 21. (b) For purposes of subdivision (a), it is not a violation of Section 23225 for any charter-party carrier of passengers operating a limousine for hire that is licensed pursuant to the Public Utilities Code to keep any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage in a locked utility compartment within the area occupied by the driver and passengers. (c) In addition to the requirements of Section 1803, every clerk of a court in which any driver in subdivision (a) was convicted of a violation of Section 23225 shall prepare within 10 days after conviction, and immediately forward to the Public Utilities Commission at its office in San Francisco, an abstract of the record of the court covering the case in which the person was convicted. If sentencing is not pronounced in conjunction with the conviction, the abstract shall be forwarded to the commission within 10 days after sentencing, and the abstract shall be certified, by the person required to prepare it, to be true and correct. For the purposes of this subdivision, a forfeiture of bail is equivalent to a conviction.”)
  2. People v. Oppenheimer (1974) 42 Cal.App.3d Supp. 4. (“Unless otherwise expressly provided, any Vehicle Code violation is an infraction.”) California’s open container laws are infractions. See also California Vehicle Code 40000.1 VC – Infractions. (“Except as otherwise provided in this article, it is unlawful and constitutes an infraction for any person to violate, or fail to comply with any provision of this code, or any local ordinance adopted pursuant to this code.”) This includes violations of California’s open container laws. See also California Penal Code 19.6 PC – Infractions; punishment; jury trial; right to public defender. (“An infraction is not punishable by imprisonment. A person charged with an infraction shall not be entitled to a trial by jury. A person charged with an infraction shall not be entitled to have the public defender or other counsel appointed at public expense to represent him or her unless he or she is arrested and not released on his or her written promise to appear, his or her own recognizance, or a deposit of bail.”)See also California Penal Code 19.8PC – Infractions; classification of offenses; fines; effect of conviction.
  3. See Vehicle Code 23224, California’s open container law as it applies to underage drivers/passengers, endnote 1, above.
  4. Our California criminal defense attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier. We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.
  5. Orange county criminal defense lawyer John Murray represents clients throughout Orange County, including Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Anaheim and Westminster, as well as in the South Bay (including Long Beach and Torrance).
  6. People v. Squadere (1978) 88 Cal.App.3d Supp. 1.
  7. See Vehicle Code 23221 VC – Drinking in motor vehicle upon highway, endnote 1, above.
  8. See Vehicle Code 23224 VC – Possession of alcoholic beverage in vehicle; persons under 21; penalties, California’s open container laws, endnote 1, above.
  9. See Vehicle Code 23225 VC – Storage of opened container, endnote 1, above.
  10. See Vehicle Code 23229 VC – Possession of alcoholic beverage in for-hire vehicles; exceptions to California’s open container laws, endnote 1, above.
  11. See Vehicle Code 23229.1 VC – Application of prohibition against possession or storage of opened container to charter-party carrier of passengers while transporting passenger under 21; forwarding record of conviction to public utilities commission, endnote 1, above.
  12. Facts loosely based onPeople v. Lopez (1987) 197 Cal.App.3d 93.
  13. See endnote 2, above, regarding violations of California’s open container laws as infractions.
  14. See Vehicle Code 23224 VC, application of California’s open container laws as they apply to underage drivers/passengers, endnote 1, above.
  15. Vehicle Code 23152 VC California’s driving under the influence law. (“(a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle. (b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article andSection 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving…”) An offender who suffers a DUI where there is an open container will likely face a mandatory jail sentence.
  16. California Penal Code 647(f) PC – California’s drunk in public law.
  17. People v. Kelley (1969) 3 Cal.App.3d 146.
  18. See Vehicle Code 23222(b), endnote 1, above.

FAQs

What is the penalty for open container in California? ›

The penalties for violating California's open container laws are relatively minor, but they can still significantly impact your life. You may be fined up to $250 and get points on your DMV record. Under 21, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor and possibly face a one-year license suspension.

Is an open container ticket a misdemeanor in California? ›

Having an open container in a vehicle is considered an “infraction,” meaning it is not a misdemeanor criminal offense. It's similar to receiving a speeding ticket. The maximum penalty is a fine of up to $250.

Is it illegal to have an open container in public California? ›

It is generally illegal to drink in public in California outside of a licensed venue such as a bar, restaurant or tavern. State and local laws make it an infraction to possess an open container of alcohol in public and a misdemeanor for a minor to possess any alcohol in public.

Can you walk and drink alcohol in California? ›

In California, it's illegal to drink alcohol in public spaces. “It's generally illegal to actually drink outside of a licensed venue,” Croxall said. “So if you're walking down the street with a beer, that's generally illegal.” If caught, you can get an open container violation.

Can you have open alcohol in your trunk California? ›

According to the California DMV, “A container of alcohol carried inside the vehicle must be full, sealed, and unopened”. This does not apply to nondriving passengers in a bus, taxi, camper, or motor home. The only truly safe place to keep an open container of alcohol is in the trunk of your vehicle.

Can passengers drink alcohol in a car in California? ›

In California, it is illegal for anyone in a vehicle to drink alcohol. This includes both passengers and the driver. If anyone is drinking alcohol when police pull you over, that person can be charged under VC 23221.

Can you drink in a parked car in California? ›

Information About Drinking in a Car in California

Technically, it is against the law to drink and drive in California. It's also illegal to carry an open container of alcohol in an operating vehicle. However, there are no specific laws against drinking alcohol in a vehicle you don't plan to drive.

Does a flask count as an open container? ›

What is an open container of alcohol? Open containers include any container that has been unsealed and that contains alcohol. Open containers might include bottles, flasks, cans, or any other type of container that contains alcoholic beverages.

How much is a misdemeanor ticket in California? ›

Misdemeanor offenses are typically punishable by up to a year in jail, by a fine not exceeding $1,000 (plus assessment and fees), or both. (Specific California laws may raise these limits for some offenses.)

Is jail time mandatory for 1st DUI in California? ›

In California, jail time is practically mandatory for people convicted of a DUI. Even if it is your first offense and no one was injured, a judge can sentence you to six months in jail.

Can you walk around with an open container? ›

The majority of U.S. states and localities prohibit possessing or consuming an open container of alcohol in public places, such as on the street, while 24 states do not have statutes regarding public consumption of alcohol.

Is it legal to drink beer in a public park in California? ›

The possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages (this includes alcohol poured into a different container) is prohibited in all day use areas. Alcohol is only allowed in your overnight camp site and you may also consume alcohol from a vessel.

Can you get a DUI on private property in California? ›

Under California law, you can still be arrested for DUI on private property. Driving a vehicle on a California public street or highway under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both can trigger your arrest and prosecution for DUI under Vehicle Code Section 23152.

Can I drink on my front porch in California? ›

There is no law suggesting that you may not be drunk in a private area. Drinking at home, in a backyard, or on a front porch is not illegal in California. Officers may be called to handle unruly individuals in these situations, but you should not be arrested for being drunk in public.

Is it legal to have a beer on lunch in California? ›

Use of an alcoholic intoxicant during lunch or break periods would not be misconduct unless there is an employer rule prohibiting consumption of alcohol under penalty of discharge, and the claimant knows about it or prior warnings have been given.

What are the alcohol rules in California? ›

Underage Drinking: Minimum Ages for On-Premises Servers and Bartenders
  • Beer: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders.
  • Wine: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders.
  • Spirits: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders.

Is it illegal to carry a flask in California? ›

Generally, yes. Having a flask in your possession while driving violates open container laws. Depending on your state, you may be able to carry one as a passenger in a vehicle, but in California, this is illegal as well.

Can you drink in an RV in California? ›

In California, drivers are exempt from prosecution under the open container laws for possessing one in the back of the RV. Passengers can drink in the living area. But again, drivers cannot.

How many bottles of alcohol can I carry in a car? ›

"Any person travelling in a private car or public transport can carry only one liquor bottle and that too with a broken seal. A person caught travelling with a sealed booze bottle is liable for punishment under IPC," the officer added.

Can the driver get a DUI if the passenger is drinking in California? ›

A common question that often comes up is whether or not a passenger in a vehicle can be charged with a DUI offense. In California, the DUI laws only penalize those who are actually driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Can the passenger in a car drink beer if he's not driving in CA? ›

You are not legally permitted to drink beer in a car you're not driving in California. You may face criminal charges for consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle regardless of your status as a passenger.

Can a passenger get a DUI in California? ›

In California, you cannot be arrested for DUI for being a passenger in a motor vehicle that is driven by an intoxicated motorist.

Can I sleep in my car drunk in California? ›

In California, merely sleeping in a vehicle while under the influence is not a DUI offense as long as there is not evidence of driving or volitional movement.

Can a car run on straight alcohol? ›

Can cars really run on moonshine? Only if it's really strong stuff. To power a car, moonshine—in this case, illicit homemade whiskey—must have an extremely high alcohol content, at minimum 150 proof (or 75 percent alcohol by volume), or 190 proof for best results.

Can I smoke in my parked car in California? ›

If your car is parked, then you can smoke marijuana only if (1) your vehicle is parked on private property and (2) you are not going to be driving. In other words, if you go outside of your home and smoke weed in your car that is parked on your private driveway, you will not be charged with a crime.

Can you drink in a limo in California? ›

Passengers in or drivers of a bus, taxi, limousine, “housecar” or camper are exempt from prosecution under California's open container laws for possessing an open container. Passengers in such vehicles are permitted to drink – drivers are not.

Is a daiquiri an open container? ›

As long as the container has its lid intact, it is technically a “closed” container. In most cases, daiquiris adhere to the “tape rule.” Most daiquiri shops will put a piece of tape over the straw hold on the lid. If this tape is removed or broken then the drink is considered an open container.

Is a corked bottle of wine an open container? ›

Thus, for instance, if a driver has a corked bottle of wine in the trunk from a dinner party, this will generally not be considered an open container offense. However, if the driver has an open can of beer in the purse beside his or her seat, this is likely sufficient to be a violation.

Can I just pay my ticket and not go to court California? ›

If you plead guilty and pay the fine, you will get points on your driving record and your car insurance premiums may increase. However, if you don't go to court or pay the fine, your license can be suspended and the court can charge you with a misdemeanor and issue a warrant for your arrest.

What is worse a misdemeanor or infraction in California? ›

A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction but less serious than a felony. Many offenses fall into the misdemeanor category in California: vandalism, trespassing, and disorderly conduct are three examples. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, it will create a criminal record.

Do misdemeanors fall off your record in California? ›

Contrary to popular belief, misdemeanors in California are not automatically expunged with the passage of time, but require the filing and granting of an Expungement Petition by the Court.

What are 3 punishments for a first time DUI in CA? ›

For a first-offense DUI in California, consequences for conviction generally include three years of informal probation, fines of $390 plus “penalty assessments” (totally approximately $2000, and completing a first offender alcohol program that consists of a 30-hour class, at a cost of about $500.

How much does a DUI cost in California 2022? ›

* How much does a DUI cost? California DUI fines range from $390 to $5,000 plus penalty assessments & fees that can raise the total cost to $18,000, depending on your DUI charge. DUI with injury or property damage may also require you to pay injured parties.

How can I avoid jail time for a DUI in California? ›

There are often ways to avoid jail time if convicted of a DUI in California.
...
Can I avoid jail time if I plead guilty to a California DUI?
  1. DUI school.
  2. No drug or alcohol use.
  3. No other arrests.
  4. Substance abuse treatment/education.
  5. Community service.
  6. Ignition interlock device (IID) installation on all vehicles.

What states can you walk around with alcohol? ›

There are only a few states in the country where it is legal to walk around with an open container of alcohol. The states include Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Missouri, and Montana.

Can you drink on California beaches? ›

Granted, alcohol is not allowed on most California beaches – but there are still a few where those 21-and-up can enjoy their booze by the surf (under a few conditions). So, if you're of age, grab a cooler, and a 6-pack or bottle of Pinot Noir, and head out for happy hour at any of these alcohol-friendly locations.

Can 18 year olds drink at home in California? ›

Based on this wording, it is not illegal for a minor to be in possession of an alcoholic beverage in his or her own home. A first offense of this charge results in a fine of $250 and community service from 24 to 32 hours of community service.

Can you walk with an open beer in California? ›

Open Container in Public in California

Under California law, BPC 25620, it is an infraction for any person to possess an open container of alcohol in any public place. This applies to any can, bottle or other receptacle which has been opened, or seal was broken, or the contents have been partially removed.

Can I drink a beer on my porch? ›

This closes off that loophole, and ever since then the answer is yes, you can have a beer on your front porch, even if it happens to be a “parking” and lies on “public space”. What if you're in your front yard, and your front yard is a “parking”?

Can you get a DUI on a golf course in California? ›

The second area to analyze for DUI purposes is whether the golf course is an area covered by the DUI laws. The simple answer is yes, every area of California is subject to the DUI laws, and you can be cited for DUI if you operate a motor vehicle while . 08 BAC and/or impaired.

Can you get a public defender for a DUI California? ›

You have a Sixth Amendment right to counsel for criminal trials in California. This right to counsel means that you can seek the help of a public defender if you've been arrested for a DUI.

Can you drink on private property in California? ›

California law lets those under 21 to consume alcohol in a private location. Only if a parent, guardian or relative is present and above the age of 21.

Can you walk and drink in LA? ›

It is generally illegal to drink in public in California outside of a licensed venue such as a bar, restaurant or tavern. State and local laws make it an infraction to possess an open container of alcohol in public and a misdemeanor for a minor to possess any alcohol in public.

Is California an open container state? ›

In California, it is illegal to have any “open” container of alcohol in your vehicle. This is true regardless of whether you are drinking it and even if there is no longer any alcohol in the container. If police find any open container in your car when they pull you over, you can be charged under VC 23222.

Can you still get drinks to go in CA? ›

As of January 1, 2022, some restaurants, aka “bona fide public eating places” (with ABC license types 41, 47, or 75) and some alcohol manufacturers (that hold ABC license types 01, 02, 23, or 74) with bona fide eating places on their premises may sell alcohol to go, meaning that a consumer may place an order in person ...

Can bartenders drink while working in California? ›

Drinking alcohol during your shift, after your shift, or at closing time is not allowed. Drinking on the job impairs your ability to perform your duties. You are more likely to make mistakes in judgment such as serving underage or obviously intoxicated patrons.

Can an employee refuse to take a lunch break in California? ›

California Rules for Skipping Meal Breaks

If you don't work more than six hours, you can also skip your meal break for any reason. You may legally waive your meal break if you work more than six hours. But you and your employer must agree to it beforehand, preferably in writing.

Can I buy beer at 3am in California? ›

Off-premise alcohol sales can occur from 6 – 2 a.m. from Sunday to Saturday in California. What time can I buy beer in California? Liquor and beer have the same sales hours in California. Beer can be purchased from 6 – 2 a.m. from Sunday to Saturday.

What is the fine for public intoxication in California? ›

Penalties For Public Intoxication Under CPC §647(f)

As noted previously, Public Intoxication is a Misdemeanor under California law. If convicted, you face up to six (6) months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000 (one-thousand dollars) or a fine and imprisonment.

What is the 6 drink rule? ›

There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these drinks will be provided only during lunch and dinner (three each).”

Can you carry alcohol in your car in California? ›

You may not carry liquor, beer, or wine inside a vehicle unless you are accompanied by a parent or other person as specified by law and the container is full, sealed, and unopened. If you are caught with an alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, the vehicle may be impounded for up to 30 days.

Can you drink on your lunch in California? ›

Employers and workers alike should keep in mind that consuming alcohol during meal breaks or at any time during working hours is considered illegal and can result in liability and/or termination.

Can I bring a suitcase full of alcohol? ›

Checked Bags: Yes

Alcoholic beverages with more than 24% but not more than 70% alcohol are limited in checked bags to 5 liters (1.3 gallons) per passenger and must be in unopened retail packaging. Alcoholic beverages with 24% alcohol or less are not subject to limitations in checked bags.

Can I have a bottle of vodka in my car? ›

Like most states, California has made it illegal to drive with an open container of alcohol inside the vehicle. It does not matter if you've been consuming the alcohol or not—if it's open, it's technically illegal.

How much is a ticket for drinking in public in California? ›

Public Intoxication is a Misdemeanor crime. You face up to six months in a county jail if convicted, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both a fine and imprisonment.

IS 647 F PC a misdemeanor? ›

Penalties for Penal Code 647(f) Public Intoxication

If convicted of Penal Code 647(f), drunk in public, it's a misdemeanor offense and you will be facing the following penalties: Up to 6 months in a county jail. A fine up to $1,000.

Can minors drink with parents in California? ›

Underage Drinking: Underage Possession of Alcohol

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S): private location. OR parent/guardian. OR spouse.

How much is the fine for public drinking? ›

According to the Gauteng Liquor Act, Act 2/2003 Section 127(d), no person may consume liquor in or near any public place as mentioned above as well as in a motor vehicle driven on a public road or parked in a public area. A fine of R300 will be issued if caught.

How can I drink in public without getting caught? ›

To drink without getting caught, hide your alcohol in a discreet container like a soda bottle or coffee cup. Alternatively, pour spirits into a hip flask and hide it under your clothes. If you're worried about getting caught when you come home, use mouth wash or chew a breath mint to disguise the smell.

What is a 707 B offense? ›

Oral Copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm. An offense specified in subdivision (a) or Section 289 of the Penal Code.

What does a 647 E mean? ›

Penal Code 647(e) deals with the act of “squatting,” or “unlawful lodging.” Someone squats on someone else's property when they live on the property without that person's permission. Squatting is considered a misdemeanor-level offense in California.

What does charge level f mean in California? ›

The most prevalent types of Class F felony crimes include: felony stalking, felony theft, felony burglary, felony sexual exploitation, and failure to act to prevent sexual assault of a child.

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