Open Container

Open container laws regulate or prohibit the existence of open containers of alcohol in certain areas, as well as the active consumption of alcohol in those areas. “Public places” in this context refers to openly public places such as sidewalks, parks and vehicles. It does not include nominally private spaces which are open to the public, such as bars, restaurants and stadiums. The purpose of these laws is to restrict public intoxication, especially the dangerous act of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

316.1936 Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles prohibited; penalties.—

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Open container” means any container of alcoholic beverage which is immediately capable of being consumed from, or the seal of which has been broken.

(b) “Road” means a way open to travel by the public, including, but not limited to, a street, highway, or alley. The term includes associated sidewalks, the roadbed, the right-of-way, and all culverts, drains, sluices, ditches, water storage areas, embankments, slopes, retaining walls, bridges, tunnels, and viaducts necessary for the maintenance of travel and all ferries used in connection therewith.

(2)(a) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while operating a vehicle in the state or while a passenger in or on a vehicle being operated in the state.

(b) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while seated in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section. Notwithstanding the prohibition contained in this section, passengers in vehicles designed, maintained, and used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation and in motor homes are exempt.

(3) An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of the operator of a vehicle if the container is not in the possession of a passenger and is not located in a locked glove compartment, locked trunk, or other locked nonpassenger area of the vehicle.

(4) An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of a passenger of a vehicle if the container is in the physical control of the passenger.

(5) This section shall not apply to:

(a) A passenger of a vehicle in which the driver is operating the vehicle pursuant to a contract to provide transportation for passengers and such driver holds a valid commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement issued in accordance with the requirements of chapter 322;

(b) A passenger of a bus in which the driver holds a valid commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement issued in accordance with the requirements of chapter 322; or

(c) A passenger of a self-contained motor home which is in excess of 21 feet in length.

(6) Any operator of a vehicle who violates this section is guilty of a noncriminal moving traffic violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318. A passenger of a vehicle who violates this section is guilty of a nonmoving traffic violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

(7) A county or municipality may adopt an ordinance which imposes more stringent restrictions on the possession of alcoholic beverages in vehicles than those imposed by this section.

(8) Nothing in this section prohibits the enforcement of s. 316.302.

(9) A bottle of wine that has been resealed and is transported pursuant to s. 564.09 is not an open container under the provisions of this section.

History.—s. 1, ch. 88-22; s. 22, ch. 89-282; s. 5, ch. 2000-313; s. 34, ch. 2005-164; s. 2, ch. 2005-250.

 

Removing Opened Containers from Licensed Establishments (“DOGGIE BAGS”/”Cork & Carry”)

Fla. Stat. §564.09

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a restaurant licensed to sell wine on the premises may permit a patron to remove one unsealed bottle of wine for consumption off the premises if the patron has purchased a full course meal consisting of a salad or vegetable, entree, a beverage, and bread and consumed a portion of the bottle of wine with such meal on the restaurant premises. A partially consumed bottle of wine that is to be removed from the premises must be securely resealed by the licensee or its employees before removal from the premises. The partially consumed bottle of wine shall be placed in a bag or other container that is secured in such a manner that it is visibly apparent if the container has been subsequently opened or tampered with, and a dated receipt for the bottle of wine and full course meal shall be provided by the licensee and attached to the container. If transported in a motor vehicle, the container with the resealed bottle of wine must be placed in a locked glove compartment, a locked trunk, or the area behind the last upright seat of a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk.

For more information please contact our office now to set up an appointment with attorney Daniel Lenghea to determine the best cause of action.