Arizona’s Open Container Laws: A.R.S. 4-251

Arizona has open container laws.

Arizona’s Open Container Laws

Open container laws refer to rules regulating opened alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles. These laws apply whether or not the vehicle occupants were actively drinking the beverages.

According to A.R.S. 4-251, the following is unlawful:

  • Consuming spiritous liquor while operating, or while within, a motor vehicle located on any public highway, or its right-of-way, in the state of Arizona.
  • Possessing an open container of spiritous liquor within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle located on any public highway, or its right-of-way, in the state of Arizona.

Open containers are defined as any that have been opened, had its seal broken, or had its contents partially removed. As such, recorked wine bottles, or liquor bottles with their lids screwed back on, will still be considered “open” and unlawful containers.

The “passenger compartment” of a motor vehicle encompasses the following:

  • The area designed for seating of the driver or the passengers.
  • The unlocked glove compartment.
  • Any unlocked, portable devices within immediate reach of the driver or any passengers.

The passenger compartment does not include the following:

  • The trunk.
  • A locked glove compartment.
  • The area behind the last upright seat of a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk.

These open container laws do not apply to:

  • Passengers in any bus, limousine, taxi, or transportation company vehicle while the vehicle is being used to provide transportation network services.
  • A passenger in the living quarter of a motor home.

Those who violate the open container statue will be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor, which can result in incarceration of up to four months.



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