Driving under the influence is not the only way to commit an alcohol-related offense behind the wheel. In the state of Pennsylvania, possession of an open container of alcohol while operating or occupying a motor vehicle is a criminal offense.
Whether or not you consumed the alcoholic beverage, law enforcement officers can charge you for violating open container laws. The minute you are charged with an open container offense, you must act quickly to avoid subsequent penalties associated with said offense.
An experienced attorney can work with you to fight these charges and keep your record clean.
Lawyer for Open Container Charges in Chester County, Pennsylvania
Possession of an open container is a criminal offense which does not carry the most serious penalties; however, penalties for this offense can still negatively impact your driving record and in some cases your livelihood.
Serving clients located in West Chester, Kennett Square, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, and Coatesville, PA, our criminal defense attorneys are prepared to take on your case. Our attorneys will work diligently on your behalf to ensure your rights.
If you were charged with possession of an open container, call Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3200 today for a no-obligation consultation. Our firm accepts clients in Chester County, Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Philadelphia County, and Delaware County.
Open Container Defined under Pennsylvania Statute 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3809
Pennsylvania Statute 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3809 prohibits an individual from operating or occupying a motor vehicle while in possession of an open container of alcohol, or consuming a controlled substance.
This statute also prohibits consumption of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle while the vehicle is on a highway in this commonwealth. This statute will not apply to passengers in the passenger area of a motor vehicle primarily used for the lawful transportation of people. This may include limousines, taxis, buses, etc.
For individuals found guilty of violating this statute, Pennsylvania’s punishment for open container possession is a maximum fine of $300 and up to ninety (90) days in jail.
Defenses to Open Container Charges
Regardless of whether or not the offender is of legal drinking age, statute 75 Pa. C.S.A. §3809 applies to both groups. Legally enjoying an alcoholic beverage in itself is not a defense against an open container charge.
One possible defense against an open container charge would be to show that the offender had no knowledge of the open container’s presence, and lacked control over the area of the vehicle where the open container was located.
Additionally, you may call the prosecution’s evidence into question. Law enforcement may have mishandled evidence, or there may be varying accounts of the same event. Both of which may call the prosecution’s evidential credibility into question.
County Court of Common Pleas– Visit the County Court of Common Please page of the Chester County website to find out more about your local courts. This website provides a complete list of courts throughout West Chester, PA. Also, this site provides information on probation, parole, and pretrial services.
DUI Program– Visit the DUI program page of the Chester County government site for more information on various DUI program locations throughout West Chester, PA. This site provides contact information on treatment providers and license restoration services. Also, find information on parole and probation following a DUI.
Find a Lawyer for Open Container Charges in West Chester, Pennsylvania
Being charged for possession of an open container in West Chester, PA can be extremely stressful. If convicted, you face license suspension and a variety of other penalties.
If you were charged with possession of an open container in Kennett Square, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, or Coatesville call Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3200 today.
At your free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys, you can discuss your charges with a professional knowledgeable in the area of alcohol-related criminal offenses. Our firm also accepts clients in Chester County, Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, Lancaster County, and Delaware County.
This article was last updated on January 4, 2017.