Yes, under New Jersey law, it is illegal to drive while in possession of an open container of alcohol in your passenger compartment (NJSA 39:4-51b).
This includes open bottles as well as alcoholic drinks that may have been poured into a cup.
Open containers of alcohol that are stored in your car’s trunk, or behind the last upright seat in a trunkless vehicle, are not violations of the open container law.
Mobile homes, limousines, and chartered buses are also subject to exemption in most cases.
The penalty for driving with an open container is a $200 fine on the first offense, with a $250 fine and 10 days of community service for a second and subsequent offense.
This may not seem like a big deal to you, but keep in mind that if you’re the sort who is likely to run into alcohol violations in New Jersey, a history of offenses like this can lead to much more significant exposure down the road.
Imagine going before a judge for a first-offense DWI charge a year after an open container violation and trying to explain that you’re a responsible driver who just made a one-time mistake.
Don’t let small problems become big ones.
When you work with an experienced New Jersey DUI/DWI attorney, you stand the best chance of leaving court with minimal penalties, or not getting there in the first place.
Call attorney Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9660 and speak to one of New Jersey’s most experienced DUI and Open Container attorneys.