City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385

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Q. A friend told me that the ticket for having an open container in a car is a small fine as long as you are not intoxicated. Is this true?

Dear Juneau Resident,

It sounds like you are suspicious about your friendís theory. As it turns out; your instincts are right on. The activity your friend seems to think is no big deal will cost you lots of money and eventually your driverís license. There are two violations we can talk about; open container of alcohol in a vehicle and drinking intoxicating beverages while driving. Both violations will result in fines from $100 to $300, 2 points on your driverís license, and maybe even time in front of a judge to talk about such behavior being a consistent practice.

First, letís go through the consequences for an open container in a vehicle. This concerns any alcohol container with the seal broken. Under CBJ ordinance 72.10.026, the fine is $100 the first time, $250 the second, and a mandatory court appearance (face time with a judge) for the third offense. Each ticket also adds two points to your driverís license, so imagine what that could do to your insurance. If the officer decides to cite under the state law for open container, itís $200 and two points.

Second, letís talk about the consequences for consuming intoxicating beverages while driving. CBJ ordinance 72.02.545(a) has a $100 fine while state statute 13AAC.02.545(a) has a $300 fine. Both provide for two points on your license.

Open containers and drinking while driving contribute to probable cause for a DWI arrest. That behavior increases the chance you will be asked to perform field sobriety tests.


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