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Open Container in Vehicle

State law in Ohio strictly regulates when and where open containers of alcohol can be carried in public places. As one of—if not the largest university campus in the country, open containers are commonplace in Cincinnati during football and basketball season for Ohio State University.

When a person is arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio, an additional charge for allegedly having an open container in the vehicle is just more salt in what is already set to be a significant financial wound.

If a police officer claims an alleged offender was consuming the open container in the vehicle, the possible penalties become even more serious.

Lawyer for Open Container in Ohio

If you have been charged with having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle when you were arrested for OVI in Ohio, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel.

The Joslyn Law Firm defends residents of and visitors to Cincinnati accused of driving under the influence (DUI), as well as Norwood, Middletown, Hamilton, Lebanon, and many other communities in Hamilton County.

Brian Joslyn is an experienced Cincinnati OVI attorney who fights to get drunk driving and all related charges reduced or dismissed for clients in such surrounding areas as Fairfield in Clermont County, Butler in Butler County, and Oxford in Clinton County.

You can have him review your case by calling (513) 339-6289 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Hamilton County Open Container Information Center


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Open Container in Vehicle Charges in Ohio

Ohio Revised Code § 4301.62 states that no person can have an opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor in his or her possession while operating, being a passenger in or on a motor vehicle, or being in or on a stationary motor vehicle highway on any street, highway, or other public or private property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking.

An open container crime is a minor misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $150.

It is important to understand that a charge of alleged consumption of beer or intoxicating liquor in a motor vehicle can result in a bigger fine as well as possible imprisonment. Consuming alcohol in a vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable a fine of up to $250 and a maximum of 30 days in jail.


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Open Container in Vehicle Exceptions in Cincinnati

Not all types of vehicles are the same in the Buckeye State. State law in Ohio does allow for certain types of open containers of alcohol to be legally transported in specific types or specific areas of vehicles.

For example, the open container law does not apply to people who pay all or a portion of the fee imposed for the use of a chauffeured limousine pursuant to a prearranged contract when all of the following apply:

  • The person or guest is a passenger in the limousine;
  • The person or guest is located in the limousine, but is not occupying a seat in the front compartment of the limousine where the operator of the limousine is located; and
  • The limousine is located on any street, highway, or other public or private property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking.

People are also allowed to have opened bottles of wine in their vehicles, provided that the bottle was purchased from the holder of a permit that authorizes the sale of wine for consumption on the premises if both of the following apply:

  • The opened bottle of wine is securely resealed by the permit holder or an employee of the permit holder before the bottle is removed from the premises. The bottle shall be secured in such a manner that it is visibly apparent if the bottle has been subsequently opened or tampered with; and
  • The opened bottle of wine that is resealed is stored in the trunk of a motor vehicle or, if the motor vehicle does not have a trunk, behind the last upright seat or in an area not normally occupied by the driver or passengers and not easily accessible by the driver.

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Ohio Open Container in Vehicle Resources

Ohio Revised Code § 4301.62 — You can read the full text of Ohio’s open container statute. In addition to the law concerning motor vehicle, you can also ready about the legality of open containers at music festivals, convention facilities, and outdoor performing arts centers. The statute also discusses other unique types of vehicles and permits that are required.

House Bill 47 | The Ohio Legislature — On April 30, 2015, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed this bill allowing cities to create open-container districts. Cities or townships of more than 35,000 people are allowed to establish one or two half-mile outdoor-drinking zones. You can read the full text of the bill on this website.


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Find a Lawyer for Open Container in Vehicle in Cincinnati, OH

Were you charged with having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle when you were arrested for OVI in Ohio? The Joslyn Law Firm defends residents of and visitors to Cincinnati who were arrested for DUI and accused of other related offenses.

Criminal defense attorney in Cincinnati, OH, Brian Joslyn also represents clients in neighboring communities like Wilmington in Greene County, Marysville in Warren County, and Mason in Franklin County. Call (513) 339-6289 or submit an online form right now to have our firm evaluate your case during a free consultation.


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