The criminal charge of Drinking in a Motor Vehicle, also known as Open Container, is a serious misdemeanor violation in the city limits of Baton Rouge. The Louisiana state statute is similar, however, the sentencing range in the Code of Ordinances for the City of Baton Rouge is more severe. Punishment may inclue community service, fines, court costs, substance abuse program, driver improvement program, and even up to six months in jail. Mr. Barkemeyer defends clients with open container charges in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. He understands the legal defenses to these charges and he will work hard to reduce the negative impact of these charges. Contact him at (225) 964-6720 if you received a summons or ticket for Drinking in a Motor Vehicle. See the statute below for more information.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to drink, consume or be in possession of an alcoholic beverage while operating, or while riding as a passenger in, any private motor vehicle when such vehicle is upon a public road.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any operator of any motor vehicle or any passenger in any motor vehicle to drink, consume or be in possession of any bottle, container or receptacle containing alcoholic beverages which has been opened or the seal of a licensed manufacturer has been broken, or the contents of which have been exposed to the air, except when such bottle, receptacle or container shall be kept in the trunk of the motor vehicle when such vehicle is equipped with a trunk, or kept in some other area of the vehicle not normally occupied by the driver or passengers in the event that the motor vehicle is not equipped with a trunk. A utility compartment or glove compartment shall be deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver or passengers. If the motor vehicle does not have a trunk, it is permissible to have an opened alcoholic beverage in the locked glove compartment.
(c) The provisions of this section do not apply to any of the following:
(1) A person operating or occupying a motor vehicle who, as a condition of employment and while acting in the course and scope of such employment, is required to carry alcoholic beverage containers, provided that neither the operator nor any passenger consumes any of the alcoholic beverages.
(2) A paid fare passenger on a common carrier or contract carrier motor vehicle.
(3) A passenger in a self-contained motor home, who is not consuming alcohol in the front passenger compartment.
(d) On a first conviction, the offender shall be fined not less than one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125.00) and imprisoned for not less than ten (10) days nor more than six (6) months. Imposition or execution of sentence shall not suspend unless:
(1) The offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he serve two (2) days in jail and participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and participate in a court-approved driver improvement program; or
(2) The offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he perform four (4) eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities, participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and participate in a court-approved driver improvement program.