An open container is considered any container with alcohol that’s open, has the seal broken, or is missing some of its contents. A person can open a container before they get into the vehicle, and even if they aren’t drinking it, this is still considered an open container.

Open containers also apply to recreational marijuana use, though this remains illegal in Delaware. Passengers and drivers cannot use marijuana while driving.

On road trips where you might crossover state lines and drinking is involved, the open container law might not apply and could cause legal trouble.

Can Passengers Drink in My Car?

In Delaware, it is legal for passengers to have open containers of alcohol and drink from them while the driver is driving. This does not mean you, the driver, can consume alcohol while driving.

Passengers also must be of drinking age to have open containers in the vehicle. If you enter another state with open containers of alcohol—empty or not—you and your passengers could be subject to a DUI, violations, and penalties if a police officer is suspicious of illegal drinking.

It is wise for passengers to keep drinking at bay so as not to draw any attention on the road or cause safety issues for you or other drivers.

Will I Get Arrested for an Open Container in My Vehicle?

It might be legal for passengers to drink alcohol while driving, but you could be subject to a DUI if a police officer believes you have been drinking. The Delaware blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) is 0.08 percent, though you can get arrested for as little as 0.05 percent BAC.

If your passengers consume too much alcohol, cause disruption to your driving or appear intoxicated and raise suspicion, a police officer can pull you over and ask that you take a field sobriety test if they have reason enough to believe you have been participating in drinking, too.

You should consult our legal team if you were wrongly accused of drinking and driving.

In What Circumstances Do I Need a DUI Attorney?

Certain circumstances and timing might prompt a police officer to pull you over and wrongly accuse you of drinking or catch you when you’re not supposed to be. The implied consent laws require you to submit to testing if you are suspected of drinking and driving.

You could be falsely accused and end up with a wrongful DUI conviction that will cost you time and money and result in a jail sentence. If this happens, our attorneys will review all traffic stops and the evidence against you to protect your rights and reach a favorable resolution on your behalf.

Contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your legal options. Call: (302) 678-8700.