Indiana’s Open Container Law

Car Accidents Blackburn & Green - August 25, 2016
Open container

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, driving under the influence of alcohol “account[s] for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.” It is therefore no wonder that only one state does not prohibit either drinking or possessing alcohol in a motor vehicle.

Indiana law prohibits both drinking while driving and driving a vehicle with an open alcoholic container. Indiana’s open container law does not apply in the passenger compartments of busses or in the living quarters of motor homes. However, within regular passenger vehicles such as cars, light trucks, and vans, it generally bans the possession of an open container by anyone, except in the following circumstances:

  • Containers in fixed, locked compartments, such as a center console
  • Containers located “behind the last upright seat”
  • Containers in areas “not normally occupied by a person”

It is important to note that the open container law applies even if a seal to the container has only been broken. In other words, it does not matter whether any of the alcohol was consumed or not.

Open container violations are crimes in Indiana. Passengers who violate Indiana’s open container law commit a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a prison sentence of up to 60 days. Drivers who violate the open container law commit a Class B infraction, which may be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison term of up to 180 days.

If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury due to an impaired driver, contact Blackburn & Green today at (800) 444-1112 or (260) 422-4400 or complete our online form. We are experienced in Indiana personal injury lawsuits, and we’ll help you assess the circumstances of your case in a free evaluation.

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