Open Container Laws in New Hampshire

Under New Hampshire’s open container law, you could face a $150 fine and license suspension for having an open container of alcohol in a car.
Written by Maxine Boyko
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Under New Hampshire's open container law, you could receive a fine of up to $150 and/or a license suspension of up to one year if you are caught with an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a vehicle. 
Open container laws vary from state to state. Before you hit the road, it’s important to know what's prohibited in the state where you live or intend to drive in order to keep yourself out of legal trouble.
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What is the open container law in New Hampshire?

According to
Chapter 265-A
of the New Hampshire code, neither a driver nor passenger may transport, carry, possess, or consume any alcoholic beverage within the passenger area of any vehicle—unless it's in its original container and the seal is unbroken—on any “way” in the state. 
A way is defined in the code as the boundary lines of any: 
  • Public highway, street, avenue, road, alley, park, or parkway
  • Private area laid out under the authority of the statute
  • Any area provided and maintained by a public institution to which state funds are allocated for public use 
  • Any area provided and maintained by a public institution that has been used for public travel for 20 years or more

What counts as an open container?

An open container in New Hampshire is any container that has been opened, taken out of its original container, consumed, and/or has a broken seal
So before you take home that opened, half-bottle of wine, be sure to stow it in the trunk, out of the passenger area.

Exceptions to New Hampshire’s open container law

New Hampshire's open container law does not apply to people transporting, carrying, possessing, or consuming alcoholic beverages if they are in a hired taxi, limousine, or chartered bus
However, the driver is still prohibited from drinking alcoholic beverages in or near the driving area.

Penalties for violating New Hampshire’s open container law

Violating New Hampshire’s open container law can earn you a $150 fine and/or license suspension for up to one year. 
If you are driving and it is suspected that you are under the influence, if you refuse a breathalyzer test, your license will be automatically suspended for 180 days. This duration may be extended up to two years with any prior DUI convictions or testing refusals.
The first time you are convicted of breaking
New Hampshire's DUI laws
, you will face $500 to $1,200 in fines and nine months to two years of license suspension. Repeat offenses can result in up to one year in jail, $750 to $2,000 in fines, and lifetime license revocation. 
In place of the jail sentence, the judge can put the offender on probation for up to two years, which will include participation in an alcohol management program with the following minimum terms: 
  • Second DUI: 5 days
  • Prior DUI within the last two years: 14 days
  • Third DUI: 30 days

How to save money on car insurance in New Hampshire

Should you get an open container violation—or any other mark on your driving record—expect your car insurance rates to skyrocket. Fortunately,
can help you find a better-priced policy no matter your record. 
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Passengers and drivers alike who violate New Hampshire’s open container law can get ticketed.
If you deny a breathalyzer test in New Hampshire, you’ll face a 180-day license suspension.
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