Illinois's open container laws generally prohibit consuming or possessing open containers of alcohol or medical marijuana in a motor vehicle. However, alcohol-related open container violations are treated differently than those for medical marijuana. This article provides an overview of Illinois's open container laws and the penalties for a violation.
Illinois's open container laws prohibit a driver and passenger from possessing any alcoholic liquor within the passenger area of a motor vehicle on a highway. The prohibition applies to all alcoholic liquor unless it's in the original container and the seal is unbroken.
Illinois open container and alcohol consumption rules don't apply in certain situations.
Passengers generally can lawfully possess an open container of alcohol in a limousine, chartered bus, or motor home. However, the driver of such a vehicle is prohibited from consuming or possessing any alcohol in the driver's area.
Another exception permits a person to transport a partially consumed bottle of wine in certain circumstances. A restaurant licensed to sell wine can allow customers who have purchased a full-course meal to take one partially consumed bottle of wine home. And a licensed winery can allow customers to take one partially consumed bottle of wine home. However, this exception requires the restaurant or winery to:
The wine exception doesn't apply to other types of alcoholic beverages.
Petty Offense. A violation of Illinois's alcohol open container law is a petty offense. Petty offenses are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. In addition to the fine, a driver who's convicted of an open container offense for a second or subsequent time within a year may face a license suspension.
Underage Offenders. A driver who's under age 21 and is convicted of violating the alcohol open container law may face a license suspension for a first offense. And a second or subsequent conviction results in mandatory license revocation.
Illinois law makes it illegal for a driver who's a medical marijuana cardholder to use marijuana in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on a highway. But a driver or a passenger may possess medical marijuana in a motor vehicle if it is in a "sealed, tamper-evident" medical marijuana container.
A driver or a passenger who violates the law prohibiting the use and possession of medical marijuana in a motor vehicle commits a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction carries up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.
Other penalties include revocation of an offender's medical marijuana card for two years and revocation of an offender's status as a medical marijuana caregiver, cultivation center agent, or dispensing organization agent for two years.