What most people don’t know is that open container tickets in North Carolina hold different penalties depending on the location of the offense. These tickets are not equal. While some are infractions, others serve as a notice of a crime. They have a lot more serious implications than regular tickets. When charged with an open container offense, you need to speak with a lawyer to grasp what your options and potential penalties are.
What Is an Open Container Offense in North Carolina?
An open container offense in North Carolina is defined as having an unsealed container of alcohol in your vehicle. It applies to both drivers and passengers. Being caught with an open alcohol container in a car on the highway or any public road amounts to an open container violation in North Carolina. The offense could be a misdemeanor or lead to a serious charge, based on the location of the offense. The penalties for an open container offense in North Carolina also depend on the location of the offense.
If it occurs on the highway or any public road, it is a misdemeanor. The potential penalties for a misdemeanor open container offense in North Carolina include a fine of up to $200 and up to 30 days in jail. If the offense occurs on private property, such as in a parking lot, it is a notice of a crime. It means you will not be arrested, but will have to appear in court. The potential penalties for a notice of a crime open container offense in North Carolina include a fine of up to $500. When transporting alcohol in your vehicle, it should always be sealed, else you could face an open container offense.
You could violate the North Carolina open container laws if the state troopers find you:
- With an unsealed container of alcohol in your vehicle
- Consuming alcohol while driving
- Drinking from an open container in a moving vehicle
The troopers may charge you with a misdemeanor offense if they catch you violating the North Carolina open container laws on a highway or any public road. However, if you do not have the alcohol in the open container, the charges will only apply to the passenger in possession of the alcoholic beverage. In case you are transporting an open bottle of liquor or wine in your car, do not place it in the area designated for passengers. If you don’t want to get into trouble with the law, put it in the trunk of your vehicle.
What Should You Do if Charged With an Open Container Offense in North Carolina?
The law connected to an open container offense in North Carolina can be complicated, particularly if you lack a legal background. That’s why it’s crucial to have an expert in your corner to help you navigate the process. A North Carolina open container offense lawyer can successfully challenge the charges against you. They will look at the facts of your case and present a strong argument to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
If you are facing an open container offense in North Carolina:
- Don’t try to represent yourself in court
- Hire an attorney with experience handling these types of cases
- Follow your lawyer’s advice
- Be honest with your attorney about the facts of your case
The penalties for an open container offense in North Carolina can be severe. You could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $200 if convicted of a misdemeanor offense. Moreover, such a criminal record could taint your reputation and make you look irresponsible.
Reasons to Choose a North Carolina Private Lawyer Over a Public Defender
When facing an open container charge in North Carolina, the best approach is to hire a private defender. Despite having the option of choosing a public defender, there are several reasons to opt for a private lawyer.
A public defender is usually overworked and may not have the time to give your case the attention it deserves. They may not have the experience or resources to properly defend you in court. A private attorney, on the other hand, has enough time and resources to investigate your case and build the strongest defense possible. They will be more likely to get you a favorable outcome in court, too.
When selecting a lawyer to represent you in court, be sure to ask about their experience handling open container offenses. Also inquire about their success rate in court. The North Carolina open container defense attorney you pick can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
Partner With a King Law DUI Defense Attorney in North Carolina
The North Carolina state troopers may pull you over when you least expect it. Upon inspecting your vehicle, they may proceed to arrest and charge you with an open container offense. This situation can cause confusion; you could end up saying all the wrong things and incriminate yourself further. If you are charged with an open container offense in North Carolina, the best action is to hire a qualified DUI defense attorney.
Our experienced team at King Law has successfully defended many clients against these charges, and we hope to help you, too. We will review your case and determine the best direction to take to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced. Contact us today by phone at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING or by completing a contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled lawyers.