Colorado Drivers (and Passengers) Should Keep Open Containers in the Trunk

Denver is one of the nation’s top beer cities and is renowned for it’s many breweries, pubs, and unique varieties. Later this month, Denver will host the Great American Beer Festival, where brewers from all over the United States will compete for awards and thousands of festival goers will sample their beers. With such a world class beer culture, no one can blame Denver drivers for wanting to take some beer home in their cars. But, what are the rules for transporting beer? Even non-drivers understand that it is illegal to drive while drunk. But not everyone knows the rules about transporting alcohol in vehicles. And it may not be clear whether or not passengers are subject to the same rules as drivers. The laws regulating the transport of alcohol in vehicles are known as “open container” laws. Colorado’s “open container” laws are detailed below.

Are we thirsty yet?

Are we thirsty yet?

Colorado’s Open Container Laws

As expected, drivers may not transport open containers of alcohol in their vehicles. Drivers must store any and all previously opened alcohol bottles in the trunk. What might not be expected, however, is that the law likewise forbids passengers from keeping open containers of alcohol in the passenger area of a vehicle. They, too, must put any previously opened bottles in the trunk for transport.

In general, drivers and passengers should keep open containers in the trunk, but there are some exceptions. Passengers, other than the front seat passenger, in a vehicle used primarily for commercial transportation, such as a taxi, may keep open containers in the passenger areas of the vehicle. Another exception applies to passengers, other than the front seat passenger, in the living quarters of a house coach, house trailer, motor home, or trailer coach. Such passengers may keep open containers of alcohol in these areas. In any case, Colorado drivers cannot go wrong with keeping open containers of alcohol safely in the trunk.

What if Your Vehicle Does Not Have A Trunk

Of course, there are some vehicles, such as pick-up trucks and hatchbacks, that do not have a trunk. Drivers of such vehicles may keep open containers in areas not normally occupied by the driver or passengers, such as the bed of a pickup truck, or in the area behind the last upright seat, such as the very back of a hatchback.

Penalties

Violating Colorado’s open container laws is a Class A traffic infraction and is punishable by fine.  In addition, the consequences are far more serious if the driver is charged with a DUI or a DWAI. DUIs and DWAIs can lead to jail time, hefty fines, mandatory driver education classes, and license suspensions. In addition, a DUI and DWAI can have negative consequences on other aspects of the offender’s life, such as missing work.

If You Have Been Accused of a DUI or DWAI Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Driving with open containers is not worth the risk. So keep any previously open containers of alcohol safely locked in the trunk during transport and certainly refrain from drinking and driving. If you find yourself facing criminal charges for a DUI or DWAI, then you will need a skilled attorney on your side. The knowledgeable Denver DUI defense attorneys at the Tiftickjian Law Firm have the experience to help you navigate the courts. Call our office today at (303) DUI-5280 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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