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Open Container

Open container laws and other alcohol-related offenses differ depending on the jurisdiction. Though Florida’s open container laws are not particularly stringent because the offense is charged as a civil traffic infraction, the citation must still be taken seriously due to the effects it can have on a person’s driving record.

Individuals cited for possession of an open container face fines, and depending on the governing municipality, more harsh punishments. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in limiting the negative effects that this type of offense may have.

A citation for being in possession of an open container in a vehicle is often related to the more serious charge of DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol in Gainesville, FL. Another related crime is being in possession of an alcoholic beverage before your 21st birthday (often called “minor in possession”).


Attorney for Open Container in Gainesville, Florida

If you live in Gainesville and were cited for an open container or another related offense, you need a defense attorney prepared to fight for the best outcome. Call Galigani Law Firm at (352) 375-0812 to schedule your no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled defense attorneys.

Our offices are located six (6) minutes from the University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL. The attorneys at the firm represent clients throughout Gainesville, FL, including students at the University of Florida.

Our attorneys also represent clients throughout Alachua County and the surrounding counties of Bradford County, Columbia County, Union County, Putnam County, Marion County, Levy County, and Gilchrist County.


Open Container Defined under Florida Statute §316.1936

Florida statute §316.1936(2) prohibits any individual from committing the following acts:

  1. Possessing an open container of any alcoholic drink, or to consume an alcoholic drink while driving a vehicle or while riding as a passenger in a vehicle in the state of Florida; or   
  2. Possession or consuming an open container of an alcoholic drink while seated in parked or stopped motor vehicle.

Florida Statute §316.1936 defines an open container as any vessel holding an alcoholic beverage which is readily capable of being consumed from, or which has a broken seal.

Furthermore, a driver can be considered in possession of an open container even if he or she is not holding the container. This statute finds a driver in possession of an open container when the container is not in a passenger’s possession nor locked in a glove compartment, trunk, or another locked part of the vehicle.

Similarly, a passenger is considered in possession of an open container when he or she has physical control of the container.


Municipality Restrictions on Open Containers

While the state enforces a statute regarding open containers as a civil traffic infraction, municipalities and counties are permitted to impose more strict penalties for this offense. For example, Alachua County places more stringent restrictions on the consumption of alcohol than those provided by Florida statute.

Under Alachua County Ordinance 85-6, consumption of alcohol in semi-public parking facilities is prohibited along with consumption on privately owned property absent proper consent from the owner or person in charge. 


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Additional Resources

Alachua County Ordinance 85-6- Visit the Alachua County website of Alachua County’s Board of County Commissioners to find out more about Alachua County’s ordinance on open containers and public alcohol consumption. This website provides information on county ordinances and related penalties. Also, find contact information for county offices throughout Florida.

Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages- Visit the Online Sunshine website of the Florida State Legislature to find out more about Florida’s statute prohibiting open containers in vehicles. This website lists full statutes for alcohol-related offenses in Florida. Also, find more information on penalties for alcohol related offenses.   


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Find an Attorney for Open Container Citations in Alachua County, FL

Alcohol related offenses can be especially damaging to your criminal and driving record. If you are cited for carrying an open container in violation of a city or county ordinance, you will lose your right to expunge these offenses and any other criminal offenses from your record.

Even a civil citation for being in possession of an open container under Florida law comes with harsh penalties. Especially if you were also charged with a related criminal offense such as DUI or being a minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage.

If you were arrested and charged with carrying an open container of alcohol, consult one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys today to learn more about what your next steps should be. Call Galigani Law Firm at (352) 375-0812 to schedule your free consultation.

Our attorneys represent clients cited for open container offenses in Gainesville and Alachua County, FL. We also represent clients for this offense in all of the surrounding counties.

This article was last updated on December 7, 2016.