Driving under the influence is certainly the most commonly referenced charge when it comes to crimes associated with alcohol but it is not the only one. There are strict open container laws on the books in New Jersey that are designed to stop this behavior from ever occurring again, which is something important to keep in mind the next time that you’re transporting alcohol in your car.
The only legal place to keep alcohol in your vehicle in New jersey is in your trunk and it is simply not worth the risk to have it anywhere else. It is illegal for any passenger or driver of a car to have an unsealed or open alcoholic beverage in a moving vehicle unless it is stored directly in the trunk. It is also illegal for anyone inside a moving car to consume alcohol while the car is still moving.
Passengers or the driver can even be found guilty of open container laws in New Jersey if no one in the car is drinking. This is true if there are any open cans or unsealed bottles of alcohol in a vehicle. There are serious penalties associated with violating the open container law. For a first offense, court surcharges and fines of up to $200 may be assessed, a second offense can include court surcharges and ten days of community service or fines as high as$250, and higher penalties apply for subsequent offenses.
The secondary impact of the violation may be more severe than the initial penalties because the real impact can trickle to your driving record that may affect any future encounters with the police or your insurance rates. It is always better to keep alcohol sealed and in the trunk anytime that you are inside a vehicle. Talk to a NJ criminal defense lawyer if you’ve already been accused.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.