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Can I drive home with a partially finished bottle of wine?

Many Californians like to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. If you and the rest of your party do not finish the entire bottle throughout the evening, someone will probably want to bring the remaining portion home.

You know that many states have open container laws that make it illegal for people to drive with open alcoholic beverages. Can you legally drive home with the wine from the restaurant?

 

California’s open container laws

Like many other states, California enforces open container laws in an effort to prevent drivers from consuming alcohol behind the wheel. According to state law, you cannot have an open container of alcohol in an area where the driver or passengers typically sit. This applies to containers that were previously opened and then re-sealed. Once the initial seal is broken, the container may not be in the car with the driver or other passengers.

Potential penalties

If you are found in possession of an open container of alcohol, it is considered an infraction and you may be fined up to $250.

If the individual is under the age of 21, the potential penalties greatly increase. Minors can face a fine up to $1,000, up to six months in jail and misdemeanor charges.

How can you avoid an issue?

Despite the open container law, you can take an open container of alcohol home. It all depends on where you store it.

Alcohol may not be around the driver or passengers, but it can be safely stored in your car’s trunk for transport. You may not store the container in the vehicle’s glove box.

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