With summer on the way, many people will be drinking at barbecues or by the pool. When moving from spot to spot, however, it's important to remember to leave that half-empty beer behind.
Under Arizona's open container law, it's a class 2 misdemeanor for anyone to drive with an opened or unsealed container of alcohol in the passenger compartment. That goes for drivers and passengers alike. Below, we've included some things to keep in mind if you do find yourself being cited for an open container violation.
Consequences of the a Breathalyzer Test
Under Arizona law, every person who operates a motor vehicle in the state has given "implied consent" to a Breathalyzer, blood, or urine test if suspected of DUI. If an officer sees an open container in your car, it's likely he'll suspect DUI and request that you submit to a blood alcohol test. The price of refusing the test is higher than the penalties for many DUI offenses. Refusing to submit will get your license suspended for at least 12 months.
Have Your Day in Court
After being cited for an open container violation, you'll probably have to make a court appearance. Generally, a first-time open container conviction is punishable by a $750 fine. If you've been charged with a DUI offense as well or have prior open container convictions, however, you could be facing harsher penalties, including jail time.
Pay the Fine
Once you've been convicted of an open container violation, you'll probably be left with a hefty fine. If the violation occurred in Phoenix or anywhere in Maricopa County, you can pay your fine online at the Maricopa County Superior Court's website.
Don't Do it Again
Subsequent open container offenses will get you harsher penalties, including a suspended license and possible jail time. So it's in your best interest to place that re-corked bottle of wine or half-empty bottle of Jose Cuervo in the trunk next time you're driving home.
If you have any questions about your open container case or Arizona DUI law in general, you may want to consult with an attorney. Good luck.
The post is part of FindLaw's Legal U series. We are working to help you learn what to do in your city to cope with some of the legal problems, questions, or issues that come up in daily life.
- Find a Phoenix DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Arizona's DUI Laws (FindLaw)
- Leave the Beer, Take the Arnold Palmer: AZ's Open Container Law (FindLaw's Phoenix DUI Blog)
- What to Do if You are Caught with an Open Container in Chicago (Legal U, FindLaw's Chicago DUI Blog)