The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Pennsylvania Open Container Laws

We've written many posts where someone gets behind the wheel of the car drunk and gets cited with a DUI if they have a blood alcohol level above 0.08.

However, blood alcohol level means nothing if you drink and drive or even if you drive and have a six-pack of beer next to you. Pennsylvania open container laws make it illegal to have any open container of alcohol in your car regardless of whether you've had a sip, are drunk, or even if the bottle of alcohol is open.

Under the open container laws, drivers and occupants of a vehicle may not:

  1. possess an open alcoholic beverage
  2. consume any controlled substances like marijuana or cocaine
  3. possess any alcoholic beverage (open or closed) while on a highway

So you can't drink and drive. And you can't drug and drive. Finally, you can't even have unopened beer next to you if you're driving home from the supermarket on the highway.

Someone who violates Pennsylvania open container laws can be charged with a summary offense. This is generally the penalty for minor offenses and can involve a fine.

Also, if you are caught driving with alcohol or drugs, you should be aware that the fact that either you or your passenger is legally entitled to use the alcohol or drug is not a valid defense to the offense. You will still be charged.

If you have any questions on Pennsylvania open container laws or DUIs in general, you may want to contact a DUI attorney.

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