If you're someone who frequently enjoys consuming alcohol in different locations, you have to be aware that there may be legal consequences of doing so. While there's no problem with drinking on your property, at a bar or restaurant, or at a friend's house, legal issues can arise when you're holding an open container of alcohol — often a beer bottle or can — in an area in which doing so is technically against the law. Sometimes, police officers will have you empty the drink and then send you on your way. In other cases, however, you'll get charged with having an open container — a charge that you may wish to fight with the help of an attorney. Here are some locations in which this charge can commonly occur.
Off An Establishment's Property
Drinking a beer inside of a licensed establishment and on its patio won't get you in any trouble, but as soon as you step off the establishment's property, you're at risk of a citation. This behavior can be easier than you think. For example, if you want to smoke a cigarette, you might take your beer with you as you leave a bar and go out onto the sidewalk. In many jurisdictions, this seemingly harmless act can be grounds for a ticket for having an open container, given that you're holding your drink in a public area.
On A Neighborhood Street
A lot of people enjoy having a few drinks when they visit their neighbors, and it's common to walk instead of drive if your neighbor lives close to you. While many people will finish their drink before walking home, you might realize that you've stayed later than expected and decide to finish the drink on the way home. This is another behavior that may seem innocent enough, but the reality is that you have an open container as you're walking down the street — and this will attract attention from any passing police officer.
In A Local Park
Community parks are another location in which it can be easy to get an open container ticket. Perhaps you've planned a family picnic on a summer day and decided that drinking a beer or two during the picnic would be enjoyable. What you might not realize is that many parks prohibit the consumption of alcohol and that police officers frequently drive through parks to look for illegal behavior such as drinking.
If you've been charged with having an open container of alcohol, reach out to a criminal defense lawyer such as Barry W Engle PC.