Montana Open Container Laws and Violation Penalties

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

As in most other states, Montana has restrictions on having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. This article covers Montana's open container laws and the penalties you'll face for an open container ticket.

Montana's Alcohol Open Container Law

Montana law prohibits any person from knowingly possessing an open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle on a highway or public road.

Montana's Open Container Restrictions Apply to Drivers and Passengers

Montana's open container rule applies to all persons within the car, including the driver and passengers. So, depending on the situation, an officer can give an open container ticket to the driver of a vehicle or other people inside the car.

Alcoholic Beverages that are Subject to Montana's Open Container Prohibition

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 to Montana's Alcohol Open Container Rule

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 for Open Container Violations in Montana

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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