Open Container Laws in Vermont

In Vermont, it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car—and an open container of marijuana is worse.
Written by Matt Nightingale
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Having an open container of alcohol in a car in Vermont is illegal and can result in a $500 fine for the driver and a $200 fine for passengers—and that’s if you’re sober.
Vermont’s open container laws also apply to marijuana. Any open container—alcohol or marijuana—can lead to sobriety checks or blood-alcohol content (BAC) tests, plus a possible DUI charge. A DUI charge in Vermont can equate to an additional $2,500 fine and a lifetime revocation of your driver's license.
Open container laws are different from state to state. Fortunately,
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What is the open container law in Vermont?

Vermont’s open container law applies to both drivers and passengers in a motor vehicle. You are considered in violation of the law if:
  • You consume an alcoholic beverage or cannabis in the passenger area of any motor vehicle on a public highway.
  • You are in possession of any open container that contains an alcoholic beverage or cannabis in the passenger area of a motor vehicle.
Any open container of alcohol or marijuana must be kept in the trunk of the car, in a locked glove compartment, or behind the last upright seat and out of reach of the driver and passengers if the vehicle does not have a trunk.

What counts as an open container?

According to Vermont law, an open alcohol container is any unsealed container that contains alcohol, malt beverage, spirit, fortified wine, or vinous beverage. In terms of cannabis, it’s any unsealed package or vessel. 
If the original manufacturer’s seal has been broken, it is considered an open container—even if the lid has been put back on.  

Exceptions to Vermont’s open container law

Open container laws apply to the passenger area of a vehicle. You are still allowed to have open containers if they are stored in a locked glove box, in the vehicle’s trunk, or behind the last row of upright seats if no trunk exists, so long as the container is inaccessible to the driver and passengers.
Open containers of alcohol are also allowed in the living area of a motorhome or the passenger area of a vehicle for hire like a limousine. In these cases, passengers can also consume alcohol so long as the passenger is over 21 and the alcohol is not in possession of the driver
On the other hand, marijuana cannot be consumed in these vehicles. 
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Penalties for violating Vermont’s open container law

If you violate Vermont’s open container law, you will be issued a fine. However, an open container violation can quickly lead to a DUI charge and a license suspension.
The maximum fine for possession of an open container of alcohol by a driver or a passenger is $25. For consumption of alcohol in a vehicle, passengers can again be fined $25. But if you are found to be consuming alcohol in a vehicle while driving, you face a maximum fine of $500.
And here’s where you can really get into trouble. You may also be given a breathalyzer test. The legal blood alcohol concentration in Vermont is 0.08. If you fail to test under the limit, you can be charged with a DUI, which may result in a $2,500 fine and lifetime revocation of your driver’s license.
Open containers of marijuana can result in a maximum fine of $200 for drivers and passengers found to be in possession. Consumption of marijuana in a vehicle is a maximum $200 fine for passengers and $500 for drivers. But, due to secondhand smoke, if a passenger is consuming marijuana in a vehicle, it is automatically considered consumption by the driver, as well—and could lead to a DUI charge.
A DUI is a serious charge that comes with large fines, license revocation, and even jail time. On top of it all, you could see your car insurance rates jump up drastically.
Key Takeaway If a passenger smokes marijuana in a vehicle, the driver can be charged with a DUI due to secondhand smoke.

How to save money on car insurance in Vermont

The best way to keep your car insurance rates low is to keep a clean driving record, so it’s a good idea to avoid citations for open containers and DUIs. Another good way to save money on car insurance is by comparing rates with the
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No. If a passenger smokes marijuana in a vehicle, they can be fined $200 for consumption and the driver can be fined $500 for consumption andpossibly be charged with a DUI.
It is legal for passengers to consume alcohol from an open container in vehicles for hire like a limousine so long as they are over the age of 21.
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