Many drivers can't resist the temptation of sipping an alcoholic beverage while they are behind the wheel. The obvious answer to this subject at hand: "DON'T DO IT!" In Massachusetts, it’s against the law to have an open container of alcohol while driving. Possession of open containers of alcohol is generally prohibited by drivers and passengers.

Cool beer bottles.
Valentyn Volkov

The law states if an alcohol container is open and you re caught drinking while driving, the end result could mean your wallet will get lighter in the long run. An open can of beer signifies that you are imbibing as some of the contents have been removed.

Bottles Of Wine On Display In Delicatessen

If you opened up a bottle of wine, once that seal is broken, it is considered to be “open” and you could also be fined for this infraction. Keep in mind, you are also endangering other motorists while you're out on the road.


The alternative is you are supposed to put any purchased liquor in the trunk of the car, or in a locked glove compartment while driving. Just wait until you get home when you're free and clear and at the privacy of your own residence. The law also states that anywhere else inside the vehicle could be considered a “passenger area”, which also includes the driver’s seat. Massachusetts decided that having an open container was not a criminal offense. While in other states, you could get criminally charged for driving with an open container, it is now only a civil violation throughout the Bay State.

A police office on the side of the road as he writes a ticket.

Here is an overview of Massachusetts's open container law: The "passenger area" is designed for the driver and passengers to sit while the motor vehicle is operating. It also includes any readily accessible area to the driver or passengers while in a seated position when the vehicle is in motion.

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A passenger can lawfully possess an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle that's designed and used for transporting persons for compensation and in the living area of a house coach or house trailer. However, it is unlawful for the driver to possess an open container of alcohol.

Red wine bottles stacked in rack on warm background

An establishment licensed to sell wine can allow customers to take a partially consumed bottle of wine home if the patron purchased a bottle of wine with their lunch or dinner or the alcoholic beverage of any kind was not totally consumed by the customer, but common sense states that a driver should not even consider taking a sip while operating a motor vehicle. Three words: Pack Your Patience and enjoy any leftover alcoholic beverage when arriving home, it's that simple.

Police Car Lights
Carolina K. Smith,M.D.

Any person who is in violation of the Bay State's open container law commits an infraction, which is punishable by a fine of $100 to $500. A person who is under the age of 18 will face a driver's license or permit suspension. For a first offense, the underage offender's license or permit is suspended for a total of 180 days. For a second or subsequent conviction, the suspension is for one year.


(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of and www.

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