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What Are the Consequences of Violating Tennessee’s Open Container Law?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County drunk driving defense attorney

When considering DUI laws, it is easy to forget that having an open container of an alcoholic beverage in your vehicle can have separate consequences. We will explain when and why a driver can be punished by Tennessee’s open container law, but know that if you are involved in any aspect of a DUI, it is imperative that you seek the legal guidance of an accomplished Tennessee DUI attorney. With a strong defense, you can protect your rights to the fullest extent. 

Tennessee’s Open Container Law

On paper, Tennessee’s open container law is fairly simple: If the driver has an alcoholic beverage that is open or the seal is broken and it is accessible, he or she can be punished. However, there is some fine print that should be understood about this rule. For instance, this law is designed to prevent a driver from consuming an alcoholic beverage while driving. It does not necessarily prevent passengers from having alcoholic beverages or for alcohol to be in areas of the vehicle that are inaccessible to the driver. 

Consequences for Being Caught With Open Alcohol

If you are charged with an open container violation, the punishment is not nearly as strict as that of a DUI. However, drivers who are caught with open containers are typically driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Regardless of whether this charge is independent or it accompanies a DUI, Tennessee deems the offense a Class C misdemeanor. This means that no jail time will be given, but the driver will be responsible for a fine of up to $100. 

An open container violation can have an impact on your future. Although your license will not be revoked for breaking this law, a DUI charge in the future could result in a stronger punishment.

Lastly, depending on where you live in Tennessee, different counties have different rules regarding whether or not you can be fined if any of your passengers are caught with an open container.

Tennessee DUI Law

This law exists to help deter intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel. Because a DUI is such a serious crime, it is important to remember what you risk by getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is above the legal limit. If you are a first-time offender, you could face anywhere from 48 hours to one year of jail time, depending on the severity of your intoxication. For the second, third, and subsequent charges, the punishments are enhanced. For example, a fourth DUI charge could result in one year in prison and a fine from $3,000 to $15,000. 

Contact a Jacksboro, TN DUI Defense Attorney

If you are ever charged with a DUI or a related criminal offense in Tennessee, the penalties can be serious. That is why it is necessary to reach out to a knowledgeable and trustworthy Campbell County drunk driving defense attorney. At the Law Office of William F. Evans, we have years of experience aggressively defending our clients in all types of criminal matters. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 423-449-7990.

 

Source:

http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/99/Bill/HB2672.PDF

 

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