New Jersey, like the vast majority of states, has an open container law prohibiting an open or unsealed alcohol beverage container in a motor vehicle. You are most likely to face an open container in a vehicle charge in connection with a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. If you or someone close to you was charged with any offense related to drunk driving, we are here to assist you. You can take comfort in knowing that we will provide you with a reliable and robust legal defense concerning your charges. You can trust that we will advocate on behalf of your best interests each step of the way.
A 27-year old man was arrested and charged with a DWI after driving erratically, according to the Cranford Police Department. Police stopped the vehicle for erratic driving but, following an investigation, the driver was arrested for drunk driving. The man was also issued a motor vehicle summonses for, among other things, open container and careless driving.
In New Jersey, an individual commits a DWI if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. BAC indicates the amount of alcohol in your blood. While 0.08 percent is the official legal limit, you can be guilty of drunk driving even if your BAC is lower than this amount but your ability to drive has been impaired. This is because drinking even seemingly insignificant amounts of alcohol can reduce reaction time and interfere with a person’s ability to drive safely.
Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-51b, every person in a motor vehicle located on a public highway, or the right-of-way of a public highway, is prohibited from possessing any open or unsealed alcohol beverage container. It is important to note that this law applies to both drivers and passengers in a motor vehicle. A person is not found to be in violation of this law if the opened or unsealed container is located in the trunk of the vehicle, behind the last upright seat in a trunkless vehicle or in the living quarter of a motor home or house trailer.
An open container is an aggravating factor when it comes to a DWI claim because it tends to show that an individual was drinking alcohol behind the wheel. Put another way, a judge would likely see the presence of an open container as a factor in deciding whether or not the prosecutor has proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Even though there is no jail time or period of driver’s license suspension associated with the open container offense, a companion charge can lead to more severe punishments for a DWI.
Whether it is your first DWI offense or a subsequent one, drunk driving charges should not be taken lightly as a conviction has the potential to negatively impact your life. If you or someone close to you has been charged a DWI and with violating New Jersey’s open container law, you need to reach out to our hard-working and reputable New Jersey DWI attorneys immediately. These cases are complex and having the right lawyer on your side can make all the difference in your case. To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, please do not delay in calling us at 877-450-8301 or contacting us online