Open Container Laws in Indiana

Under Indiana’s open container law, you can be fined $500 for having an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your car, even if you’re parked.
Written by John Pickhaver
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
You could be hit with a fine of up to $500 if you break
Indiana
’s open container law, which makes it illegal to possess an alcohol container with an opened seal in the passenger section of your vehicle—even if you are sober and parked.
Open container laws throughout the United States vary quite a bit, so it’s important to be aware of your state’s laws. 
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What is the open container law in Indiana?

According to Indiana state law, having an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle is a Class C infraction
The law says that you will be cited if you or one of your passengers is carrying or in possession of a container with an alcoholic drink within the passenger area of your car if it is opened or unsealed
Previously opened alcohol must be:
  • Stored in your trunk 
  • Locked in your glove department
  • Positioned behind the last upright seat in your vehicle  
These rules do not apply to a sealed or never opened container of alcohol.

What counts as an open container?

The law in Indiana explains that an open container is any receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that’s been opened or unsealed.
Don’t worry, that bottle of cooking wine you purchased at Casey’s shouldn’t be a problem. Though, if you pull out a flask half-full of tequila, or a re-corked bottle of merlot, you’ll be putting yourself in a position to get cited and fined. 

Exceptions to Indiana’s open container law

There are certain exceptions that apply to Indiana’s open container law. Passengers may have an open container of alcohol in the following vehicles: 
  • Charter buses, like party buses
  • Limos
  • Motor homes
Key Takeaway: If you have an open container of alcohol in your car’s passenger area while on a public highway, you could be hit with a $500 fine. 

Penalties for violating Indiana’s open container law

If you break Indiana’s open container laws you could be cited and fined up to $500.
Since it is not considered a moving violation, no points will be added to your
driving record
. Remember, however, the consequences will be much more severe if you are inebriated during the violation
Possible penalties for
driving under the influence
in Indiana include suspension of your
Indiana driver's license
for six months. A court may also require the installation of an ignition interlock device, which mechanically tests your blood alcohol level before your vehicle can be started.
Also, if you reject a breathalyzer test, you could face a
license suspension
of up to two years. And you will certainly see an increase in your insurance premium if you are found to be driving under the influence. 
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You and your passenger could receive citations for violating open container laws on Indiana roads.
 If you deny a breathalyzer in Indiana you could face a license suspension of up to two years.
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