Open Container

San Antonio Open Container Defense Lawyer

Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car is aware they can face drunk driving charges if they have been drinking. What many do not know is having any type of open container in their vehicle, unsecured, is a violation of the law as well.

Unsecured Open Container

It is important to understand that an unsecured open container pertains to any type of container that will hold liquid. For example, a partially consumed bottle of wine, with a cork in it may not be in the passenger area of the vehicle. It may be secured in the trunk, in the glove compartment, or behind the last seat in a vehicle that has no trunk.

You must always remember, the car need not be moving to get an open container citation. Any driver in a vehicle on a public roadway including parking lots, highways or residential streets is subject to open container laws. Should law enforcement also site you for drinking while driving, your charges will be increased to include open containers.

Drivers and Passengers

Drivers are not the only people who may be cited for an open container in a vehicle. Even a passenger could face this Class C misdemeanor charge. This means the simple act of sitting in a vehicle to say hello to someone who is parked on a public street, could mean you end your day with a criminal citation.

A minor may also be charged with an open container violation in Texas. Should they face such a charge, their driver’s license may be suspended for as long as 30 days or if they are considering applying for a license, they may have to wait an additional 30 days.

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Don’t let an open container charge jeopordize your future.

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Having a criminal record can reduce your chance of getting a job offer by 50%.1  Expunging your record can help you get the job you deserve, the home you want to rent, or the education you seek. Find out if you’re eligible to have your record expunged by calling us our taking our free online eligibility test.

1. Binyamin Applebaum. Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work, NYTimes.com, February 28, 2015.

Penalties and Outcomes

While a Class C misdemeanor charge does not carry any jail time, it does not mean you will escape penalties. In addition to having a criminal record, you may also have points assessed against your license. This points assessment could mean higher insurance premiums for an extended period of time. You may also be required to pay a fine of up to $500.

The fact you will have a criminal record could result in other problems. For example, if you are applying for a job or housing and a background check is run, this will show up on your record. This could potentially reduce your opportunities to secure a new job, or find a new apartment.

You can, and should defend yourself against an open container charge. However, because the charge does not carry any jail time, the court has no obligation to offer you a court appointed attorney. You will have to hire an attorney on your own.

In many cases, an attorney can help by defending against the charge, for example, if you were not a passenger, or driver, but rather simply stopped to say hello. In other instances, we may be able to get the charges dropped depending on whether this is a first offense.

Those who are charged with an open container violation in Texas also have the right to have their criminal record sealed or destroyed. Whether you are facing an open container charge, or you have an open container charge on your record, contact us today. We can defend you against an open container charge, and if we can secure a deferred adjudication verdict, we can help you expunge your record.

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