Open Container Laws in Utah

Utah has some of the strictest open container laws in the U.S.—and they apply to more vehicles than just cars and trucks, like golf carts.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Penalties for driving with an open container of alcohol in
are steep. If you get an open container violation on your
Utah driving record
, you could face a hefty fine and possible jail time.

What is the open container law in Utah?

Section 41-6a-526
of the Utah State Code is Utah’s open container law. The law prohibits drivers and passengers from having an open container of alcohol in most vehicles, including:
  • Golf carts
  • Motor-assisted scooters
  • Class 2 electric-assisted bicycles 
This applies to state roads if the container is open or partially consumed, whether or not the car is running.  
To legally transport an opened container of alcohol, it needs to be in an area not accessible to anyone in the vehicle while the car is in motion. This means you’ll be okay if the container is in your trunk, but not in your glovebox.

What counts as an open container?

Maybe you’re thinking of partially consumed cocktails or open cans of beer, but an open container can even mean a recorked bottle of wine. If you’ve broken the seal of any alcoholic beverage, even if it’s completely full, the only safe way to transport it is in your trunk or another inaccessible area.

Exceptions to Utah’s open container law

Utah’s open container law applies to both drivers and passengers. The exceptions to this law are if you’re a passenger on or in:
  • A boat
  • A motor home
  • A chartered bus
  • A limousine
  • A licensed taxi cab
  • A public bus
If you’re a passenger on a golf cart or in a regular car, you can still get an open container violation.
Key Takeaway You can only have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle if you’re being driven by a professional driver or are on a boat.
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Penalties for violating Utah’s open container law

If you’re pulled over with an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, you’ll be issued a citation. The penalties for violating the open container law are:
  • A $750 fine
  • Max jail sentence of 90 days
The above penalties assume you’re not also found guilty of a DUI. The DUI penalties in Utah are especially harsh—even a first-time offense includes mandatory jail time, a fine of over $1,000, and
license suspension
 If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you’re legally compelled to submit to a blood-alcohol or breath test. If you refuse, your license will be revoked for 18 months for first offenders or three years for repeat offenders.
 There are consequences beyond legal woes if you’re convicted of a DUI, though—your
car insurance rates
can skyrocket by as much as 94%!

How to save money on car insurance in Utah

The best way to save on your car insurance is to stay out of trouble and avoid driving under the influence or with an open container in your car. The second best way? With
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Drivers or passengers can get tickets for open container violations in Utah.
If you refuse a breathalyzer in Utah, your license will be suspended for 18 months.
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