Arkansas open container law
Greg Klebanoff, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Arkansas Open Container Law: What You Need to Know
Most people know that according to Arkansas open container law, it’s illegal to drive with an open container or alcohol in the car. Far fewer people know what counts as an open container and the consequences of getting caught with one in your vehicle.
What classifies an open container according to Arkansas open container law?
An open container is any bottle, can, cup or other vessel that contains over 0.5% of alcohol by volume and has a broken seal or has had its contents partially removed. A can of beer with a popped top is an open container, but so is a partially full bottle of wine with the cork reinserted. So is any partially filled container. In short, it’s anything that isn’t both completely full and with its factory seal intact.
According to Arkansas open container law, where is it illegal to have an open
According to the Arkansas open container law you cannot have an open container in any area of a vehicle that is:
- Designated to seat the driver or a passenger and the vehicle is in operation, and
- Readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in a seated position and the vehicle is on a public road
This means not in the front seat, back seat, console, glove compartment, cup holder, dog house or anywhere else you can easily reach while sitting in the car.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, according to open container laws Arkansas there are a few. You can have an open container in:
- An area outside of the passenger area of the vehicle or other area commonly used for transporting passengers, such as the trunk or cargo area
- A locked area of the vehicle, such as a glove compartment or center console
- A permanently sealed container that cannot be unsealed without breaking the seal or destroying the container
- A motor vehicle used primarily for transporting people for compensation, such as a taxi, bus, or limousine, provided you are a passenger and not the driver, or
- A recreational vehicle, motor home, or house trailer, as long as you are a passenger and not the driver, and the open container is within the living quarters of the vehicle or an area designated for passengers only and not readily accessible to the driver
What are the penalties for violating the Arkansas open container law?
If you are caught with an open container in your vehicle, you can be charged with a
Class C misdemeanor. This carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
This applies to both drivers and passengers, so everyone in the vehicle could potentially
face charges. Moreover, the presence of an open container can be evidence of Driving While
Intoxicated, which can carry much more serious consequences.
How can I avoid getting into trouble?
The best way to avoid getting into trouble with Arkansas open container law is to not drink alcohol while driving or riding in a car. If you do drink alcohol, make sure to store any open containers in a place where they are not accessible to you or anyone in the vehicle. If you are unsure whether your situation falls under an exception, it is better to be safe than sorry and avoid having an open container altogether.
Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
By appointment and
Greg Klebanoff, Attorney and Counselor at law
28 S College Ave Suite 22 Fayetteville AR 72701