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When is it unlawful to have alcohol in a motor vehicle?

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | DWI

State laws typically have stringent provisions for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and other related offenses. The same goes for regulations in North Carolina, which may enforce hefty sanctions for minor to severe violations. These policies may also deter others from committing the same offenses, so it could be vital to learn about the rules, no matter how extensive they can be.

Aside from the usual DWI rules, drivers should also be aware of alcohol transportation and open container limitations. These laws usually apply to commercial vehicles that regularly travel to transport alcohol, subjecting them to permit requirements. However, these regulations can take effect for private and passenger vehicles. All drivers should keep in mind these prohibitions for alcohol contained within motor vehicles:

  • Transporting alcohol — Traveling with sealed alcohol containers is illegal if the amount exceeds the allowable limits, which may vary according to the type of beverage, such as malt drinks, wines, or spirits.
  • Open containers — If the alcohol container has a broken seal, the law may consider it open. In this scenario, state policy prohibits it from being in the passenger area of cars and the living quarters of mobile homes or house trailers. This rule may apply when the vehicle is on the highway, depending on the beverage’s alcohol content.

The application of these rules also varies based on the situation. For example, a commercial truck may have the necessary permits to contain alcohol, but it could be unlawful if the beverage’s open container is in its cabin.

Additionally, other factors can affect the charges, such as whether an officer pulled the driver over for any traffic violations and if the sobriety or breath tests had unfavorable results.

Approaching DWI-related issues appropriately

When facing DWI charges or similar violations, seeking legal counsel could be vital. Experienced insight into what happened can help determine issues and ways to address them. It might not ensure a favorable outcome, but it may keep the legal process fair, and the penalties proportionate to the offense’s severity.