BYOB or “bring your own beverage” cocktail parties begin to flourish and some restaurants even encourage you to bring your favorite bottle of wine. Whatever your beverage of choice may be, if you pack the cooler or have a recently opened bottle of bourbon in your vehicle, you could get a traffic ticket for illegally transporting alcohol and in Illinois, you run the risk of losing your driving privileges. Let’s tackle what you need to know if you are taking alcohol over to a party.
Open vs. Full Alcohol Container
Alcohol includes beer, wine, liquor, and champagne. In the state of Illinois, transporting alcohol while in transit or having any alcohol within the passenger seat of a vehicle is illegal unless it is in the original container with the seal unbroken. That is a violation of the open container law in the state. The same is true for passengers. So if that bottle of wine is practically full but you broke the seal, it’s still an open container.
There are some exceptions to this. The law does not apply to passengers of a limousine, chartered bus, motor home, or mini motorhome. However, the driver of any of these types of vehicles is not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages and there must be a separation or a partition between the driver and the alcohol container. If you have an open container in a car, it must be placed in the trunk of a vehicle.
Penalties for Illegally Transporting Alcohol in Your Car
Possessing an open container of alcohol in a vehicle is a petty offense and you could face a fine of up to $1,000. Celebrations with friends and family should be fun and memorable. But being pulled over during the holidays for illegally transporting alcohol can have a serious impact on your driver’s license, especially if you were the person behind the wheel of a car.
If you are 21 years of age or older and you are convicted for this offense a second or third time within one year you will lose your driving privileges. If you are under the age of 21, even your first offense will result in a suspension of your license. If you violate the open container law you will also face additional court fines and higher rates for auto insurance because this offense carries 25 points on your driving record.
Contact a Will County Traffic Lawyer
If you have been pulled over for an open container offense you need an experienced Will County traffic attorney. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. will review your case and try to ensure you do not lose your driver’s license.