Alcohol in Car

Having alcohol in your car can put you at risk for a DUI conviction. Learn more about alcohol laws by state and auto insurance consequences for DUI.

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Alcohol in Car

Having alcohol in the car with you is a risk you don’t want to take. Perhaps the alcohol was the other person’s or perhaps you just forgot it was there. No matter what happens, you do not want to find yourself facing a driving under the influence charge for having alcohol in your car. Rather, it is important to understand what alcohol in the car consequences are and what you can expect if you are charged with this type of crime.

Alcohol Laws Vary by State

What are the alcohol laws by state? Each state sets its own laws regarding alcohol consumption and driving under the influence. All states have laws that forbid a person from being intoxicated behind the wheel. If you find yourself in this situation, it is critical to stay out of the vehicle’s driver’s seat and to call for a ride to get home. That is because intoxication can be a common cause for major accidents on roadways.


What if you have alcohol in the car, but you are not drinking it? What if you can pass a blood alcohol content test, but there is an open beer in the front of the car? Or, perhaps you have a bottle of wine in the backseat that you forgot was there. In all of these situations, you could face fines and DUI charges. In every state, it is illegal to have open bottles of wine, beer, hard alcohol, or other substances in the vehicle. If a police officer spots this, they can charge you with having an open container, which can lead to long term implications.

Can Alcohol be in Your Car?

When can alcohol be in your car? It is never a good idea to transport alcohol in the vehicle. It should not be in the front or the backseat of the car. It is best to only travel with alcohol that has the manufacturer’s seal in place if there is some reason you need to travel with it inside the car’s interior. If you have to bring alcohol home with you, perhaps after a party you host, and it is open, place it in the trunk of the car where it is out of reach of anyone operating the vehicle.


To be clear, the driver or the owner of the car can be held legally responsible and charged with having an open container even if he or she does not take a sip out of it. Because these laws are so significant, it is always important for people to avoid this risk. Simply keep any open alcohol in the trunk of the car or do not transport it otherwise.

Consequences of Open Alcohol in Car – Court Ordered Ignition Interlock Device Requirements

What happens if you have open alcohol in the car? In some situations, you may be given a fine, such as if you pass a blood alcohol content test. In other cases, state laws may allow the police to charge you with driving under the influence, especially if you are swerving or giving any other indication of intoxication.


If you are facing a DUI charge, the consequences are numerous. State laws regarding DUIs have increased in terms of penalties. You could face fines, jail time, the loss of your license, and the requirement to receive rehabilitation help. A court ordered ignition interlock device may also be required of you. This would mean you have to blow into the device before you can turn the key of the car to ensure you are a safe driver.

DUI Passenger – What If the Alcohol Isn’t Yours?

A common question occurs when you have a passenger in your car that is intoxicated. If this individual is driving, was driving, or could be driving, it is possible that they can receive a DUI. However, if you are driving the car and you have a friend that is intoxicated, it is not likely you will receive a fine as long as you are not intoxicated. Still, that person cannot have any type of open container in your car. If they do, then you can face charges as well.

Drunk Driving Accidents and Your Car Insurance

Why are these laws so harsh? Drunk driving accidents are common in many areas of the country. They put lives on the line when people drive with alcohol in their system. More so, if you have a DUI charge, you can expect to face significant penalties, and your car insurance rates are likely to increase. Car insurance companies recognize the risks of driving under the influence. As a result of this, they are likely to suspend their coverage to you or increase your premium costs to compensate for the higher risk.


Alcohol in the car is never a good idea. Take steps to avoid it whenever possible.