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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

Does Michigan have an open container law?

If you are like many residents of Michigan, you love to spend long summer days with your friends at a lake, campground or fair. These places are optimal settings for enjoying beer, wine or spirits. If you intend to transport alcohol in your vehicle, though, you must be certain to keep the containers closed.

Like most other states, the Wolverine State has an open container law. According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, neither drivers nor passengers may carry open containers of alcohol in vehicles. If you violate this provision of state law, you may face misdemeanor criminal charges.

What is an open container?

The term, “open container,” can be somewhat confusing. After all, not only does the term include an actual open bottle of booze but it also includes any container with a broken seal. For example, after you open a bottle of liquor and have a single shot, transporting the container with its remaining contents probably violates state law.

What are the penalties?

Even though violating Michigan’s open container law may seem like a minor infraction, you may face some considerable legal consequences for doing so. Specifically, a judge may order you to pay a fine and spend up to 90 days behind bars. More likely, though, you may have to attend an alcohol abuse program and complete community service.

At a minimum, having an open container in your vehicle is likely to result in the assessment of two demerit points on your driver’s license. Ultimately, to avoid losing your license and having a misdemeanor conviction on your record, it is advisable to explore your legal options as early as possible.