Secs 23221 to 23229 of the California Vehicle Code define the open container laws of the state. The following are the specific laws:
• Sec 23221 of the California Vehicle Code is for drinking in a vehicle;
• Sec 23222(a) of the California Vehicle Code is for possession of an open container in a vehicle;
• Sec 23224 of the California Vehicle Code is for possession of an open container in a vehicle by an individual below the age of twenty one;
• Sec 23225 of the California Vehicle Code is for storage of open containers in a trunk;
• Sec 23226 of the California Vehicle Code is for storing open containers in the passenger compartment;
• Sec 23229 of the California Vehicle Code defines the exceptions for in-hire vehicles;
• Sec 23229.1 of the California Vehicle Code prohibits in-hire vehicles from storing alcohol when carrying individuals under the age of twenty one;
The crux of the criminal offense is the possession of alcoholic beverages and the beverages have been opened or have broken seals or either partially or entirely consumed in a vehicle. One essential requisite would be that the said alcoholic beverage was in the possession of the individual being accused of the crime.
This is an infraction charge in California’s laws, as these do not carry prison time but punishable only with a fine of $250. When the individual is underage, then there is no criminal offense committed. This though becomes a misdemeanor offense. When this offense is related to a DUI charge, then points would be added to one’s record in the DMV. Depending on the offense, the judge can impose a mandatory prison sentence.
A violation of open container laws is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.