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What you Need to Know About New Jersey's Open Container Law


Every driver should be aware that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. However, the laws behind open containers are less obvious, which can get people into legal trouble if it’s ever found in their vehicle. If you get pulled over, and there’s a half-full bottle of alcohol in the backseat, it won’t matter if you exclaim, “I didn’t drink any!” to the police officer.

Today, our DUI attorney explains New Jersey’s open container law and the implications of violating the law.

What does New Jersey’s open container law entail?

New Jersey statute, NJS 39:4-51b, explicitly prohibits the possession of open and unsealed alcoholic beverage containers in moving motor vehicles. However, there are exemptions to this law.


  • Area of the vehicle. The open container law does not apply to items located in the trunk of the vehicle or behind the most back seat in a trunkless car. The container of alcohol cannot be easily accessible to the driver or passengers.

  • Type of vehicle. Open container and consumption laws do not apply to passengers in statutorily authorized limousines and buses.

  • Motorhome or camper. Open containers in the living quarters of a motorhome are exempt.


If you are found guilty of violating New Jersey’s open container laws, the following penalties include:

  • First offense. A fine of $200, but no jail time.

  • Second offense. A fine of $250 or 10 days of community service.

  • Third offense. Increased fines and penalties.

To some, these penalties may seem like a small amount to pay, but ignoring the consequences can leave a lasting impact. If one were to continue this behavior, the multiple convictions would show up on his or her driving record, which could make insurance rates soar and lead to more consequences.

Enlist the help of Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC

If you are charged with violating New Jersey’s open container law, it’s in your best interest to consult an experienced criminal and DWI/DUI attorney. At Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC, our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and discretion required to handle your situation.

Call us at (201) 574-7919 now to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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