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Old 03-31-2014, 07:55 PM   #1
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Open container

Hi everybody,

We had a discussion in the RV last night about the subject of "open container". After all I am lugging around a house on wheels that has a fridge and in it might be a bottle of wine that is still not fully consumed. Would this be an issue if stopped/searched? Not sure what cops would look for but in my time I have meet some interesting "protectors". Just wanted to know if my fellow RV'ers have heard stories or had experiences..

Thanks
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:57 PM   #2
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I'd say as long as you're not drinking while driving, it's a non-issue. We always travel with "adult beverages" in our refrigerator.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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Most "open container" laws have a court ruling that the container must be within immediate reach of the driver.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:03 PM   #4
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I know pasengers in a limousine or tour bus can drink, I would think open containers in a motorhome fridge are in the house part not the drivers area
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:04 PM   #5
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Here's a little recent light iRV2 reading

Open container?
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:54 PM   #6
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It's no different than a boat. As long as there's sleeping and cooking facilities and the alcohol is not accessible to the driver your fine.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:37 PM   #7
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While the federal government can’t directly legislate open container laws they can create incentives for states to implement these laws on their own. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Tea-21) sets out certain guidelines for states to follow in order to receive roadway funding. If the state fails to comply, a portion of the funding will go to alcohol awareness. All but 11 states have an outright ban on open containers in vehicles. Alaska, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Wyoming have partial bans whereas Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, and West Virginia actually allow passengers to drink.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:02 PM   #8
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Except that a motorhome is just that, a home. Laws apply differently to residences. Is it legal to carry alcohol across state lines? In most cases no.

Some state laws would require you keep the alcohol outside of the passenger area while driving. Some states allow for consumption in the living quarters.

Use common sense. Don't carry enough to supply a bar for the week.
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:46 AM   #9
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Alcohol laws have always been wierd. When I moved to Jacksonville, Fl 35 years ago, you couldn't buy beer on Sunday, but during the other days of the week you could drive up to a liquor store and get a mixed drink served to you (the driver) right out the drive-through window. Neither of those is true now. In North Carolina (years ago) you couldn't buy a mixed drink at a bar. You brought your own booze, gave it to the bar tender who mixed your drinks for a "set-up" charge from the bottle you brought, keeping the bottle at the bar until you left. As for open containers, if the booze is in the fridge and not within reach, you should be fine in any state.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:19 AM   #10
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Most State laws exempt motorhomes from open container laws. Florida:
Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
"It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while seated in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section. Notwithstanding the prohibition contained in this section, passengers in vehicles designed, maintained, and used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation and in motor homes are exempt."
The statute's exemption applies to motorhomes over 21 ft in length.

and it specifically states "(9) A bottle of wine that has been resealed and is transported pursuant to s. 564.09 is not an open container under the provisions of this section".
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:52 AM   #11
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I frequently travel with other adults in our motorhome, I have always allowed the passengers in the back (behind the drivers/passenger seat in front) to have an adult beverage if they desire. I assumed as long as they are not in the driving area it should be treated as your home rightfully or wrongly.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:49 AM   #12
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The laws have been well presented here and as usual they vary state to state. So what we get down to is "stopped and searched". I'm guessing, as a person who has not been stopped in thirty years, if you get searched there may be other issues to consider other than open container.

Lots of people get stopped, I'm guessing that a minuscule number get searched rendering the concern practically moot. The exception would be "probable cause" and we all must answer exactly why that would be individually.

In short, don't worry about it, unless you already have something else to worry about.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fla tom View Post
I know pasengers in a limousine or tour bus can drink, I would think open containers in a motorhome fridge are in the house part not the drivers area
Limos and buses that serve booze actually have special licenses/permits to do so.

however.. I fully agree, the bottle of wine, used for cooking, that is in my locked when in motion cupbord (I do not refrigerate) is not going to be an issue if I'm ever stopped.

And if some jerk of a police officer wishes to make an issue of it.. Well.. I am THE DISPATCHER (on another network) and .. He may find out just what that means (I was a police dispatcher for 25 years but in this context it means something else)
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Passin Thru View Post
Alaska, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Wyoming have partial bans whereas Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, and West Virginia actually allow passengers to drink.
Not in Virginia!

18.2-323.1. Drinking while operating a motor vehicle; possession of open container while operating a motor vehicle and presumption; penalty.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to consume an alcoholic beverage while driving a motor vehicle upon a public highway of this Commonwealth.
B. A rebuttable presumption that the driver has consumed an alcoholic beverage in violation of this section shall be created if (i) an open container is located within the passenger area of the motor vehicle, (ii) the alcoholic beverage in the open container has been at least partially removed and (iii) the appearance, conduct, odor of alcohol, speech or other physical characteristic of the driver of the motor vehicle may be reasonably associated with the consumption of an alcoholic beverage.
For the purposes of this section:
"Open container" means any vessel containing an alcoholic beverage, except the originally sealed manufacturer's container.
"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. This term shall not include the trunk of any passenger vehicle, the area behind the last upright seat of a passenger van, station wagon, hatchback, sport utility vehicle or any similar vehicle, the living quarters of a motor home, or the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxi, or limousine, while engaged in the transportation of such persons.


But, as mentioned above, a motor home is exempt if the alcohol is kept behind and out of reach of the driver. I think you're fine, at least in Virginia. As someone also mentioned - why would they have probable cause to enter your vehicle to look for alcohol?
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