Montana Open Container Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

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

Montana law prohibits any person from knowingly possessing an open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle on a highway or public road. This restriction applies to all persons within the car, including the driver and passengers.

An open alcoholic beverage is any container (with alcohol inside) that is open, has a broken seal, or has some contents removed. Because “alcoholic beverage” includes any drink with .5% alcohol or more, this may exclude some non-alcoholic beer and mixers.

Exceptions

Drivers are never permitted to possess an open alcoholic beverage on their person. However, alcohol is permitted in certain areas of the vehicle and in certain situations.

An open alcoholic beverage may legally be stored inside a vehicle if:

  • locked in the trunk or glove compartment, or
  • located behind the back seat if the vehicle doesn’t have a trunk.

And an open alcoholic container may legally be possessed and consumed by a passenger if:

  • on a statutorily authorized for-hire bus, taxi, or limousine, or
  • in the living quarters of a camper or motor home.

Fines and Jail

An open container violation is a non-criminal misdemeanor in Montana. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $100. A violation cannot include additional fees, be included on a driving record, affect vehicle insurance, affect a driver’s license, or include jail time.

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