Illinois Open Container Laws

In addition to prohibiting driving under the influence, Illinois has outlawed driving with an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. While this crime does not involve jail time, it can still have a negative impact on your life. If you have been accused of carrying an open container in your vehicle, you must take these charges seriously. Chicago alcohol crimes attorney Michael O’Meara will work tirelessly to represent your interests in court, advocating on your behalf to protect you and your record from unfair charges.

To find out more about O’Meara Law can help, call 312-909-0706 today.

Understanding Illinois Open Container Laws

According to Illinois law, it is illegal to carry, possess, or transport any alcoholic beverage with a broken seal in a vehicle that is traveling on a road or highway. Both drivers and passengers are prohibited from possessing open containers of alcohol. Carrying a fully secured and sealed container of alcohol is allowed.

While this law may seem strict, there are exceptions. For example, you may be able to avoid penalties if you are transporting a partially finished bottle of wine that was purchased with a meal at a restaurant. However, the bottle must be secured inside a transparent, tamper-proof bag. Possessing open containers of alcohol is also legal for passengers of limousines and charter buses. Of course, drivers of these vehicles may never have an open container.

Penalties and Collateral Consequences

In Illinois, the possession of an open container in a vehicle is a petty offense that is normally only punishable by a fine. Drivers are often required to pay up to $1,000. Multiple offenses can bring increased penalties. For example, drivers who receive two or more convictions within a one year period may have their licenses suspended. Since Illinois has a Zero Tolerance Law when it comes to underage drinking and driving, those under 21 who are convicted a first time can lose their licenses as well.

How O’Meara Law Can Protect Your Freedom

In cases involving open containers of alcohol, there are a number of defenses that can get your charges eliminated in court. One effective strategy involves proving that you were pulled over without reasonable suspicion. When reasonable suspicion is absent, the police are not legally permitted to make a traffic stop. Along similar lines, it is also illegal for the police to search your vehicle without your consent, a warrant, or probable cause to believe you have something illegal in your car. When the police search your vehicle outside of these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to argue for the dismissal of the charges against you.

At O’Meara Law, we believe in giving every case that we handle our full attention. From aggravated assault and armed robbery to marijuana possession and open container violations, we will put our extensive experience of the criminal justice system to work for you. By forcefully advocating for your interests at every stage of your case, we can help you obtain the best outcome possible under your circumstances.

Call 312-909-0706 now to receive a free consultation of your case.