Transporting an Open Container of Alcoholic Beverage

Per North Carolina General Statute 20-138.7(a), no person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway or the right-of-way of a highway: (1) while there is an alcoholic beverage in the passenger area in other than the unopened manufacturer’s original container; and (2) while the driver is consuming alcohol or while alcohol remains in the driver’s body.

Any container in which the seal has been broken is defined as an open container.  A passenger area is considered any area within reach of a seated driver or passenger.  This includes the glove compartment.  The trunk and behind the back seat is not considered the passenger area and is out of reach of the driver and the passenger.

The driver will not be in violation of Transporting an Open Container of Alcoholic Beverage unless he has consumed alcohol.  Only the person who possesses or consumes an alcoholic beverage will be in violation and shall be charged.  The odor of an alcoholic beverage on the breath of the driver is not enough evidence to prove that alcohol has been consumed.

Transporting an Open Container of Alcoholic Beverage is an infraction, and is not considered a moving violation for DMV purposes. The first offense is of Transporting an Open Container of Alcohol is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor; the second offense is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor.  If a Transporting an Open Container of Alcoholic Beverage charge is associated with a Driving While Impaired charge, the punishment shall not exceed the maximum. 

For more information on Transporting an Open Container of Alcoholic Beverage call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC today at (919) 585-1486. 


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.