Does Colorado Have an Open Container Law?

colorado-open-container-lawsDrinking while driving is against the law in all states in the nation. And in order to combat drinking while driving, many states, including that of Colorado, have passed open container laws.

These laws prohibit an open container of alcohol from being within a vehicle, regardless of whether the container is actually in the driver’s possession.

Consider the following about open container laws in Colorado, and reach out to our team of criminal defense lawyers at the law office of Miller Leonard, PC if you’re facing charges.

Colorado Open Container Laws

As found in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 42-4-1035, it is against the law for a person who is in the passenger area of the motor vehicle–which is defined as the area designed to seat the driver or a front passenger–to drink an alcoholic  beverage or have in their possession an open alcoholic beverage container (defined as an alcohol container where the contents are partially removed or is open or has a broken seal).

Exceptions to the Open Container Law Colorado

The law does make a couple of exceptions to the possession of an open container of alcohol within the vehicle. For example, it is not against the law for passengers who are within a vehicle that is operated primarily for the use of transportation of others for compensation (so long as the passengers are not in the front seat).

Having an open container of alcohol within the living quarters of a vehicle that doubles as a home, such as a motor-home or trailer, is also legal.

Finally, it is also allowable to have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle that does not have a trunk, so long as the container is kept behind the seats of the passenger area or in an area that is not normally occupied by a driver or passengers.

Penalties for an Open Container Violation in Colorado

The penalties for having an open container of alcohol in one’s possession while operating a motor vehicle will result in a Class A traffic infraction, which is punished by a fine of $50 in our state, as well as a surcharge of $16.

Keep in mind that an open container of alcohol can also serve as probable cause for a police officer to further search your vehicle or ask you to submit to blood or breath alcohol testing.

Of course, if a person is actually drinking from the open container while driving, or is intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or above, the consequences may be much harsher, and the open container offense will just be an add-on to a much more serious offense.

How Our Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help

If you are facing charges related to having an open container of alcohol within your possession or drinking while driving, you need a skilled Colorado criminal defense lawyer on your side.

At the office of Miller Leonard, PC, our lawyers can defend you against the prosecution and help you to understand your legal options. Please call us today to schedule a consultation and get started.


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