An Illinois police officer pulls you over and notices that you have a half-full bottle of alcohol on the passenger seat. According to state law, the officer may find you in violation of the open container law. What happens now?
What’s an open container?
It’s interesting to note that an open container doesn’t necessarily mean a bottle with its top off. Rather, it could be a bottle that is firmly closed but has a broken seal. This could lead an officer to believe that you opened the bottle at some point. Moreover, the open container must be in the passenger area of the vehicle. That said, it goes further. If you are giving someone a ride, they also can’t have a bottle with a broken seal in their possession.
What does this mean if you’re giving your friend a ride?
Let’s say that your friend called you from the bar and asked you to be their ride. As a good friend, you agree. You pull up, they get in, but they have a bottle of alcohol with them. It’s clear this bottle is not sealed. If you’re driving on the highway and an officer pulls you over, you might be in violation of the law.
Is an open container enough to find you guilty of DUI?
The officer might mention that they believe you smell of alcohol. However, this is not sufficient because you could be undergoing ketosis. Even if you undergo a breath test, its results may be false positive in this situation.
Even so, there’s a good chance that you may face the consequences of the open container rule, which includes suspension of your license. If you found yourself recently in this type of situation, you might be able to protect your rights by talking to an attorney.