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What to Know about Ohio's New Open Container Law

Open Container Law in Ohio

A bill was passed by the House and Senate in Ohio that would allow an adult to carry an open container of alcohol in “outdoor refreshment areas”. Governor Kasich signed the bill and it is effective immediately. Provided the alcohol was purchased in a designated zone, these areas would be exempt from normal city open container laws.

The objective of the bill is to create tourist-friendly entertainment areas similar to New Orleans and Nashville. These areas would be adjacent to a concert, a sporting event, and near bars or restaurants where alcohol is common. The goal of this newly passed bill is to encourage customers to visit multiple businesses rather than a single bar.


Are you facing public intoxication charges or an alcohol-related criminal charge in Ohio? Schedule a FREE case review with our Akron attorney today.


There are only two restrictions to the outdoor refreshment areas:

  1. The first puts a half square mile limit on the size of each area and all alcoholic beverages must be purchased within the area and carried in a plastic container.
  2. Any and all other requirements will be defined by whichever city the area is located. Until this law gets passed, all other open container laws still apply.

Ohio Open Container Law

The current open container law forbids that any previously opened bottle, can or other unsealed containers of an alcohol beverage be carried on a sidewalk, street, or inside a vehicle.


Open Containers in a Vehicle

In the state of Ohio, it does not matter whether the open contain belongs to the driver or the passenger for criminal charges to happen. Both the driver and passenger can be charged if the container is within arm’s reach of either of them. The driver and the passenger can be charged with an OVI if, there is an open container present in a moving vehicle. However, like many laws, there are exceptions to the rule. For instance, a limousine or party bus is permitted to have open containers. If in a vehicle, it must be locked away in the glove compartment or the trunk.

If you have an alcohol-related charge, the attorneys of DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder have decades of experience of getting their clients the best possible outcome. They will assure that all your rights have been protected.

Contact an attorney today to set up a free in-person consultation.

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