Arizona’s Open Container Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

Learn about the penalties for an open container conviction in Arizona.

Arizona law prohibits any person from possessing an alcoholic beverage in a vehicle if:

  • the beverage is open or has a broken seal, or
  • the contents of the beverage have been partially removed.

The restriction applies to all vehicles located on a public highway or right-of-way and all persons within the vehicle, including the driver and passengers.

Alcoholic beverage. Arizona defines “alcoholic beverage” to include any beer, malt beverage, wine, distilled spirits, mixed drinks, and effectively any beverage of at least .5% alcohol. So, some open non-alcoholic beers and mixers might be allowed.

Exceptions

Certain vehicles. Arizona’s open container law isn’t applicable to passengers riding in certain types of vehicles, including statutorily authorized limousines, taxis, and buses. Riders in the passenger areas of these vehicles are permitted to possess and consume alcohol. And Arizona recently amended its statute to include an exception for “Transportation Network Company” vehicles. These are vehicles operating under rideshare apps like Lyft or Uber that provide for-hire transportation.

Areas of the vehicle. Arizona’s open container laws are intended to apply to the passenger areas of vehicles. So, the restrictions aren’t applicable to items in a locked glove box, the trunk of the car, or behind the back seat (if the car doesn’t have a trunk) as long as they are not readily accessible to the driver or passengers.

Fines

An open container violation is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $750 and a maximum four months in jail.

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