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Ask a Cop: Closed Containers of Alcohol in Vehicles?

Have a question for the Fredericksburg Police Department? Send it to local editor Dan Telvock at dan.telvock@patch.com

Question: What is the law regarding closed containers of alcohol in vehicles? Must the alcohol be placed in the trunk or back seat-- or does it not matter where it's kept, as long as the alcohol is in a closed container?

Answer: As long as the person in possession of the alcohol is of legal age, a closed container of alcohol may be anywhere inside a vehicle to be transported. There are no restrictions.

Ty Johnson August 07, 2012 at 11:04 AM
VA code citation please
rick barasso August 07, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Which of course is why Jack Daniels comes in a square bottle... So it won't roll under the seat while driving. It's a safety thing
Stephen Graham August 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Closed or un-opened? There is a big difference.
AdoDani August 07, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Rick, lol!!
Dan Telvock (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Additional info from PD: Per Virginia code "Open container" means any vessel containing an alcoholic beverage, except the originally sealed manufacturer's container. Therefore, once a bottle has been opened, it is an open container. An open container should not be carried in the passenger area of a vehicle. Also per code, "Passenger area" means the area designed to seat the driver of any motor vehicle, any area within the reach of the driver, including an unlocked glove compartment, and the area designed to seat passengers. A passenger in possession of an open container could face a charge of drinking in public.
Unknown Sender August 07, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Im no leagle beagle but heres the code that i believe covers this... § 18.2-323.1. Too much to reprint here so youll have to do your own footwork. Essentially, ANYONE found INSIDE a vehicle that has a container of alcohol that has been OPENED (notice opened, not openedand put the top back on-that is still considered open) that is of legal age WILL BE charged. Minors would be also charged, but law dictates an adult must be charged too. the kid had to get it from somewhere! just take it home where we all can be safe and the police dont patrol. SIMPLE! SAFE!

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