Open Container Laws in Florida

Under Florida’s open container law, you could be fined up to $90 for having an unsealed container of alcohol in the passenger area of your car—even if you’re parked.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Under Florida’s open container law, you could receive a $90 fine for having an open alcohol container with a broken seal in the passenger area of your car—even if you’re parked and sober.
While most U.S. states have open container laws, they range in severity depending on where you live. That’s why it’s crucial to know the law in your own state. 
Car insurance
comparison and broker app
Jerry
is here to walk you through Florida’s open container laws. We’ll look at what the law says, if exceptions exist, and how to avoid a violation so you can keep your
Florida car insurance rates
low.

What is the open container law in Florida?

Florida
Statute 316.1936
prohibits “possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles.” This means that any person possessing or consuming an alcoholic beverage in a vehicle can earn a citation, even if the vehicle is “parked on a road.” According to this law, a “road” includes streets, highways, alleys, and any associated sidewalk, culverts, drains, ditches, and bridges. 
The passenger will be held accountable if they are physically in control of the container. But the open container will automatically be considered in the driver’s possession if the container is not in possession of a passenger or in the following areas:
  • A locked glove compartment
  • Locked trunk
  • Locked non-passenger area of the vehicle 
Basically, having any container of alcohol in your vehicle is illegal in Florida unless it hasn’t been opened yet or it’s locked away in a non-passenger area of the car.

What counts as an open container?

You might assume that “open container” only refers to an open bottle or can or maybe a cup with no lid—but in Florida, the definition is broader. In fact, the law defines an open container as any container “which is immediately capable of being consumed from or the seal of which has been broken.”
That means your run to the liquor store is probably safe as long as you haven’t opened anything yet. Your re-corked bottle of rosé, however, technically defies the open container law unless it's safely locked in the trunk. 

Exceptions to Florida’s open container law

Florida’s open container law does come with a few exceptions. Passengers are allowed to have an open container of alcohol in the following vehicles:
  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Limos
  • Motorhomes over 21-feet long
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Penalties for violating Florida’s open container law

If you’re caught violating Florida’s open container law, you’ll be found guilty of a noncriminal traffic violation, which comes with a fine of up to $90 for the driver or $60 for a passenger. However, if you decide to fight the infraction by requesting a hearing, you’ll have to pay a $500 fine if you lose the case.
The penalty will escalate, however, if you were intoxicated or refused a breathalyzer test. Refusing a sobriety test will get your
license suspended
for one year. 
Being convicted of a DUI comes with a fine of at least $500, as well as a possible six-month stint in jail. You’ll also be charged with a misdemeanor. 
Whether or not you’re convicted of a DUI or just an open container traffic violation, it’ll go on your record—which can cause your insurance rates to skyrocket. Knowing the law of the land can prevent unexpected premium spikes. 
Key Takeaway If you have an open container of alcohol in your car’s passenger area while on a public road, you could be fined up to $500. 

How to save money on car insurance in Florida

Driving smart and knowing Florida’s open container laws are just a couple of ways to keep from overpaying for car insurance. Another good way is to open your phone and download the
Jerry
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As a licensed broker, Jerry partners with over 50 top companies to bring you the best rates on coverage in just 45 seconds. Simply download our
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Either you or your passengers—or both—can receive citations for open container infractions on Florida roads.
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