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Ohio's Open Container Law

Ohio Revised Code Section 4301.62, entitled "Opened Container of Beer or Intoxicating Liquor Prohibited at Certain Premises" states:

No person shall have in the person's possession an opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor in any of the following circumstances:(1) In a state liquor store; (2) Except as provided in division (C) of this section, on the premises of the holder of any permit issued by the division of liquor control; (3) In any other public place; (4) Except as provided in division (D) or (E) of this section, while operating or being a passenger in or on a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or other public or private property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking; (5) Except as provided in division (D) or (E) of this section, while being in or on a stationary motor vehicle on any street, highway, or other public or private property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking.

This means that is illegal under Ohio law to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage, subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions are: (1) when you are in a properly licensed liquor establishment such as a bar; (2) when you are in a chauffeured limousine; or (3) if the container is an opened bottle of wine that was purchased from an establishment licensed to sell wine for consumption on the premises, has been resealed by the owner before removed from the premises, and is stored in the trunk of your car or, if your car does not have a trunk, behind the last upright seat.

Open container offenses usually carry a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. However, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both.

If you have been charged with an alcohol-related offense, a knowledgeable Criminal Attorney can help you protect your interests both in and out of the courtroom. For experienced legal advice, contact an experienced Criminal Attorney today.

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