Everything You Need to Know About Colorado Open Container Laws

A weekend evening of fun can quickly go awry if you are unaware of Colorado laws pertaining to open containers. You are likely aware of the illegal nature of driving after consuming alcohol or driving while consuming a beverage, but did you know that even the mere presence of an open beer could result in legal trouble for you? Maybe it started out innocently with your best friend in the passenger seat pregaming a bit. However, you may have wrongly assumed it would be acceptable for them to consume alcohol since they aren’t driving when in reality they broke the law. Don’t be caught unaware, continue reading to learn more about Colorado laws regarding open containers.

Open Containers Explained

An open container can be defined as any alcoholic beverage that is open or has previously been opened. Even if you find yourself taking home a bottle of wine that is half gone but recorked, you could still be guilty of breaking open container laws. In such cases, it is important to haul any previously opened container inside the trunk of your vehicle to avoid facing legal repercussions.

Furthermore, it is illegal to be caught with any fully open cans or bottles of alcohol inside the passenger area of your vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you are a passenger with no intention of driving, being in possession of any open container of alcohol is a breach of the law. A passenger drinking any amount of alcohol while riding in your vehicle is also guilty of breaking open container laws.  Simply put, no open containers should be hauled in the passenger area of the vehicle period.

Specifics of Open Container Laws

Don’t be fooled, even if the alcohol is in a different type of container it is still considered to be an open container is found in the passenger area of your car. Whether the alcohol is present in the original can/bottle or other drinking devices, it qualifies as an open container. The amount is also irrelevant as even the smallest amount of alcohol transported within the passenger area of your vehicle is considered an open container.

Be cautious to avoid having any alcoholic beverage with a broken seal inside the passenger area of your car. Also be aware that partially full containers are also considered to be open, even if the contents were previously removed/consumed before placing them in the passenger area of your vehicle.

What is Considered the Passenger Area of a Vehicle?

The passenger area of a vehicle can be defined as the portion of the vehicle utilized for the transportation of passengers. This includes the seats, glove box, console, and any other areas/compartments located in proximity to passengers/drivers.

Do Open Container Laws Apply to Marijuana?

Marijuana can also be considered an open container if it meets certain criteria and is located in the passenger area of the vehicle. If packaging containing any amount of marijuana or a marijuana-related product is open or has an open seal, it will be regarded as an open container.

Seek Legal Counsel

If you are found guilty of breaking an open container law, you may be charged with a Class A traffic infraction and be penalized with a fine. No matter what the crime, any criminal record can result in legal consequences, as well as unpleasant repercussions to your personal and professional life. Allow a competent attorney to fight for you to better the outcome of your case!