The Open Container Law in Nevada

Attorney Ross Goodman
520 S 4th St,
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 383 – 5088
Fax: (702) 385 – 5088

goodman law group

picture of a judge hammer, alcoholic drink and car key

Nevada is one of the many states in the United States that implements “Open Container Law”. According to 23 U.S. Code 154, “the state should prohibit the possession of any open alcoholic beverage container, or the consumption of any alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of any motor vehicle (including possession or consumption by the driver of the vehicle), while driving a vehicle on a public highway, or the right-of-way of a public highway.”

To understand the law better, let us first discuss the legal definition of the following terms:

  • Alcoholic beverage – This is classified in the Section 158 of the US Code as: Beer or wine of not less than 0.5% of alcohol by volume and distilled spirits.
    • Beer, as defined by the law includes “beer, ale, porter, stout, sake, and other similar fermented beverages containing 0.5% alcohol volume or more. Brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part”.
    • Distilled Spirits – they are also known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or spirits of wine in any form. They are commonly known as brandy, whisky, rum, or arrack.
  • Open alcoholic beverage container – this includes any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains “any” amount of alcoholic beverage, open or has a broken seal, and the content are partially removed.
  • Motor Vehicles – these are vehicles driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public highways. In the state of Nevada, motor vehicles that are designed to transport many passengers has certain privileges (the state allows the passengers to consume alcoholic beverages). These include buses, taxis, limos, house trailers, vans, etc.

Let’s go back to the Law. The law states that:

  • Possession of any open alcoholic beverages is prohibited – This means that an opened beer, ale, brandy, whisky, rum, or arrack, sake while driving a vehicle, can get you charged with DUI. This includes empty cans or bottles.
  • In the driver seat and passenger area of any motor vehicle – This includes any area in the vehicle that is designed to accommodate the driver and the passengers. Some examples include glove compartment, in-front of the speedometers, pocket at the back of the front seat, etc.
  • The law applies to all the people inside the vehicle – It means that it is not legal for any of the passengers to possess or consume alcohol while inside the vehicle. Passengers inside a motor vehicle that is designed to transport many passengers are exempted from this law. (See the definition of Motor Vehicle for the list of vehicles) 

Charged with DUI?

If you know someone who is charged with DUI in Las Vegas, consult a DUI/DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. Ross C. Goodman is well-experienced in defending DUI charges. He can provide the client with legal advices that can turn the results of the case into the client’s favor. Contact the office of Goodman Law Group at (702) 383 -5088 for a free consultation.

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