Return To Blog

Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Open Containers and How to Transport Alcohol Safely

July 11, 2018

Summer is the season of barbecues, outdoor parties, and music festivals. All those events mean the temptation to enjoy your favorite beverage or recreational marijuana product will be great. While it’s fine to enjoy yourself at the event or party, it’s important that you understand Colorado’s open container laws. While an infraction won’t leave you searching for an experienced Denver criminal lawyer, it can result in fines and traffic violations that leave a derogatory mark on your license. Here’s what you need to know about the open container laws and what you can do to ensure that you’re transporting alcohol and marijuana safely this summer.

What Classifies as an Open Container

When it comes to alcohol, any open bottle, package, or can of alcohol counts as an open container, even if it’s been resealed. Any beverage with 0.5 percent alcohol by volume is subject to the open container law. This includes all non-alcoholic and full-strength beer, hard liquor like whiskey and vodka, wine, and even some kombucha beverages just to name a few.
If you’re transporting dry marijuana or edibles, the open container definition is similar, but a bit different. If the container is open or the protective seal is broken on the container, it is said to be an open container under the law. However, there are a few requirements that must be satisfied in order for you to be charged with a violation. The container must be open, the marijuana must be partially removed from the container, and there must be visible evidence that the marijuana was consumed in the car. If the police cannot prove that you consumed marijuana, whether by smoking or eating the product, in the vehicle, you are not in violation of the open container law. Keep in mind, if you test positive for marijuana or are exhibiting signs of being high behind the wheel, you may still be arrested for driving under the influence.

How You Can Safely Transport Open Containers

Though driving with an open container is illegal, that doesn’t mean you have to waste what’s left of your delicious beverage. It just means you have to be cautious about how you transport the leftovers home. Instead of driving with the container inside the car, put it in the trunk. This shows police that you have no way of accessing the product on the road. If you can’t access the alcohol or pot, you can’t imbibe while you drive. If you have a truck and lack an enclosed trunk, putting the products in the truck bed will still count as properly storing an open container. To reduce damage while transporting the containers, consider bringing a padded cooler bag with you if you suspect that you’ll have leftover beverages.
Stay safe this summer and take the time to properly transport open containers whether you’re coming home from a party or bringing back a delicious bottle of wine after a wonderful dinner. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, don’t hesitate to contact the team at The Law Office of John L. Buckley and schedule a free consultation.