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What is the Open Container Law in Illinois?


Chicago Open Container Law

According to Illinois vehicle code section 11-502 & Chicago statute 8-4-030, the law prohibits the consumption or possession of alcohol-related beverages or containers with a broken seal in a motor vehicle or in a public area.

This means that if you just purchased a bottle of liquor, not even your passenger can break the seal and begin drinking it while you are driving to your next destination. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Illinois does not allow drivers or passengers to possess any alcohol-related container in a motor vehicle if the seal has been broken. If the bottle has never been opened and the seal is intact, the container can remain in the motor vehicle without violated any laws as long as it remains unopened.

If you have ever seen footage of people partying in a limousine, you are probably wondering if they are breaking the law. Passengers of a limousine, chartered bus, or motor home are allowed to lawfully possess an open container of alcohol. Of course, the driver is still prohibited from consuming alcohol or possessing any in his or her area.

Additionally, a bottle of wine that has been partially consumed could be transported under very specific circumstances. Both restaurants that are licensed to sell wine and wineries can allow customers to take a partially consumed bottle of wine home.

This exception requires the restaurant or winery to:

  • Securely seal the wine bottle
  • Place the wine bottle in a tamper-proof bag
  • Provide the customer with a dated receipt

Open Container Penalties

Violating state law regarding open containers is treated as a petty offense and is punished with a fine of up to $1,000. If a driver who was previously convicted of an open container offense is found guilty of subsequent offenses within a year, he or she could face the suspension of his or her license. Underage drivers who are convicted of violating the open container law could face license suspension for a first-time offense. Subsequent offenses will result in a mandatory license revocation.

Experienced Open Container DUI Legal Counsel

If you are facing charges for violating Illinois’s open container law, or a DUI, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side to help you navigate the justice system. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, we have been protecting the rights of our clients for over 20 years and would be honored to the same for you as well. These offenses should not be taken lightly, especially given the impact they could have on your future.

Secure the aggressive legal advocacy you need today and contact our office at (312) 436-0638 to schedule your free initial case evaluation.