DWI: Open Container Laws in Louisiana
Open container laws are different in Louisiana, compared to other states. These laws are also related to DWI law. One thing we want to do in this article is explain what our open container laws are in the state of Louisiana, so that we can eliminate any confusion on what the laws actually contain, as well as debunking any assumptions.
As defined by LA Rev Stat 32:300 and explained very well by attorney J Antonio Tramontana, the Louisiana open container law “prohibits the driver of a vehicle and the passengers from having an open container of an alcoholic beverage while operating the vehicle on a public highway or right of way”. In addition to this, it’s illegal for passengers to consumer alcoholic beverages while they’re in the car while it is being operated.
There are some exemptions to the Louisiana open container law, including the following:
- Somebody that is required to carry open alcoholic beverages, due to his or her job, can do so as long as nobody in the vehicle consumes that alcohol.
- Passengers riding in a parade on a float
- Passengers riding in a privately owned limousine where the driver has a Class D commercial driver’s license
- Passengers in self-contained motor homes that exceed 21 feet in length. The open container must be in the trunk of the vehicle or, if there is no trunk, in a locked glove box, utility box, or area of the vehicle not normally in use or accessible to the driver or passengers.
- Passengers in courtesy vehicles while they’re being operated as courtesy vehicles
- Passengers paying a fare in any common, contract, or public carrier vehicle
New Orleans should also be brought to your attention: a municipal ordinance in this city allows the consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages in open plastic containers in certain districts. The French Quarter is the best known example of allowing for this law.
Note that you should be careful in drive-through daiquiri shops. Daiquiris in sealed cups are legal in Louisiana. They have to be sealed, which means three things: “the lid hasn’t been removed, no straw is protruding from the drink in any way (including popping through the lid), and ‘the contents of the cup have not been removed (both whole removal and partial removal).
The best rule is to be as safe as possible, especially in uncertainty. If you’re not sure what the laws are or if you can’t remember, or even if you know the laws, you should put away anything containing alcohol. Lock it away or put it away, and only fool with these drinks when the vehicle is not in operation. Even if you haven’t consumed any alcohol, but your open container is in plain sight, you can still get a DWI.
Have further questions on the laws or need assistance on your DWI situation? Our knowledgeable legal team can help you navigate the most current laws and understand the consequences of a conviction. At Southern Oaks, we will use our experience to create a calm environment so you can make the best decisions about how to respond to the matter at hand. Contact Lafayette DWI and criminal defense attorney Taylor Fontenot, and know you are getting sympathy and strength as well as competency and expertise.