Drunk drivers caused approximately 28% of fatal crashes in 2016 alone. There are plenty of laws that forbid drinking and driving, and they work together with other regulations to keep everyone safe.
Almost all 50 states have laws that regulate the illegal transportation of alcohol. These laws are meant to ensure that people aren’t taking drinks with them on the road.
The most common types of illegal alcohol transportation laws are known as open container laws. They regulate where and when you can have or drink open containers of alcohol.
In this guide, find out more about the Illinois open container law, and how to transport alcohol legally.
How the Law Works
43 states have an open container law that regulates where and when citizens can have opened containers of alcohol.
39 of these laws meet federal requirements by putting specific regulations in place. They forbid having or drinking unopened alcohol containers and cover the entire passenger area. They apply to all vehicles, passengers, drivers, and types of alcoholic beverages.
States can set their own laws, and don’t have to meet these requirements, but they get fewer federal funds for road construction if they don’t. This is how the government encourages people to put proper open container laws in place.
The open container law in Illinois forbids anyone from transporting alcohol in the passenger area of a car unless it’s still in the original container with the seal unbroken.
Containers can be bottles, jars, cans, or anything else that holds alcohol. Any unsealed alcohol is considered open, as is any you’ve placed in another container like a soda can or plastic bag.
The Illinois open container law may also apply to you when you’re out in public. In Chicago specifically, you may face penalties for drinking or having an open alcohol container on a public sidewalk, the steps of a building, or a parking lot.
Exceptions include passengers of limousines, chartered buses, and motor homes. They are allowed to transport alcohol in the passenger area, but not to have or drink it in the driver’s seat.
There are further specifications for restaurant owners. They can legally allow a customer to take an unsealed bottle of wine they didn’t finish home with them as long as they bought a meal first. The owner must seal it, place it in a tamper-proof bag, and provide a receipt first.
Illinois’ Open Container Law Penalties
The punishments you face for an open container conviction depend on your age and criminal record. Being aware of them is one of the best ways to avoid them.
Adults could face a fine of up to $1000 and a points violation for an open container law conviction. A second conviction within a year can get your license suspended.
Minors under 21 years of age may have their license suspended for up to a year for their first open container offense.
There are other Illinois open container law penalties to keep in mind. They include jail time and community services.
Also be aware that Illinois container law penalties may apply to everyone in the car, even if they didn’t drink any of the alcohol. A passenger who brings along a case of beer and keeps it on their seat puts themselves, and their driver, at risk of facing a conviction.
An open container law violation can also make a DUI even worse. You might lose your insurance or face longer vehicle impoundments and jailtime.
Repeatedly ignoring the driving laws in your state can lead to more severe penalties. Be extra careful if you’ve already had a suspension or revocation on your record in the last 7 years resulting from 2 convictions in a year-long period. If you get a container law violation under these circumstances, you might get your license revoked.
The Illinois open container penalties differ in each individual case, which is why it’s important to know as much about your local laws as possible. For more information on the possible problems you may face, find out the differences between a suspended and revoked license here.
Transporting Alcohol Legally
Illinois’ open container is only meant to regulate how citizens transport alcohol. It was never meant to forbid them from doing so in a safe and legal way.
Delivery drivers, limo or taxi drivers, and other workers could be required to carry alcohol in their vehicles. Anyone can safely get drinks to their family and friends if they’re aware of all applicable laws.
If you must transport alcohol, make sure it’s unopened and still in the original container. Also, make sure not to store it in the passenger area. This refers not only to the seats, but the glove compartment as well.
Always transport alcohol in the trunk or the bed of a truck. This not only keeps you from violating open container policies, but also protects your car’s upholstery.
Make sure you know all the open container law regulations for your state. While there are federal standards, states are allowed to decide their own regulations, and the laws differ greatly in each location. Knowledge is the best protection against a conviction.
Where to Get Legal Help
Laws that prevent the illegal transportation of alcohol are meant to keep citizens safe and prevent drunk driving incidents. Almost every state has them and enacts strict penalties for breaking them.
The open container law in Illinois prohibits anyone from having an opened, unsealed container of alcohol in the passenger area of their car. This applies to every type of container, alcohol, and vehicle.
Illinois’ open law container penalties are severe and change depending on age and criminal record. They include severe fines and possible suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
If your driving privileges get affected by an open container conviction or other traffic problem, you need an experienced legal team to resolve the issue. We can help you get back on the road after a suspended or revoked license.
Find out what we can do for you and get a free consultation today.