Open Container Laws in Montana

In Montana, driving on highways or public roads with an open container of alcohol in your car could incur a $100 fine.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Montana punishes DUIs as harshly as any other state, and there’s a $100 fine for driving with an open container of alcohol on highways and public roads. However, the incident won’t be counted on your driving record and can’t be used by your insurance company to raise your premiums.
State laws aim to keep people safe on the road, from regulating minimum
car insurance
to outlawing open containers of alcohol. Montana has targeted highway drivers in particular in an effort to lower the highest number of alcohol-related fatalities in the nation. So what counts as an open container? And what happens if you get caught?
Jerry
has the answers to these questions and more in our guide to open container laws in Montana. We'll also show you how to save on your
Montana insurance costs
, so let's get started!
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What is the open container law in Montana?

Drivers are forbidden from having an open container of alcohol in their car on highways or public roads in Montana. The purpose of the law is to curb alcohol-related fatalities on Montana’s roads, which rank among the highest in the nation. If a driver is in possession of an open container of alcohol, they will be issued a ticket. 

What counts as an open container?

Montana’s
Department of Transportation
defines an open container as:
A bottle, can, jar, or other receptacle that contains any amount of an alcoholic beverage that is open or has a broken seal or the contents of which are partially removed or are immediately capable of being consumed.

What are the exceptions to Montana’s open container laws?

According to
§61-8-1026
, open containers of alcohol are legal so long as they are:
  • In a locked compartment, including the glove box
  • In a trunk or cargo space
  • In the hands of a passenger
  • In the possession of a passenger in a bus, taxi, or limousine with a hired driver
  • Inside a camper, trailer, or mobile home
Key Takeaway Montana prohibits drivers on highways and public roads from carrying an open container of alcohol in their car.

What are the penalties for breaking Montana’s open container law?

If you break the open container laws in Montana, you can expect to receive a fine of no more than $100. Fortunately, the incident won’t be recorded on your driving record, and insurance companies are forbidden from raising your premiums.
Whether or not you have an open container in the car, driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of 0.08% or greater is strictly forbidden. It may result in a conviction of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), which carries a six-month driver’s license suspension and a fine of $600 to $1,000. A second conviction within 10 years extends the fine to $1,200 to $2,000 ($2,500 to $5,000 for a third conviction) and the license suspension period to one year.
If you’re pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of committing a DUI, you might be asked to take a breath or blood test to measure your BAC. Refusing a test will result in a six-month driver’s license suspension, with subsequent refusals extending that period to one year

How to save money on car insurance in Montana

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Open containers of alcohol are strictly forbidden to drivers on highways and public roads in Montana.
If you refuse to let an officer of the law measure your BAC, you could be subject to a six-month driver’s license suspension (or one year, if you have a prior refusal on record).
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