Nebraska’s Open Container Laws and Violation Penalties

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

As do most other states, Nebraska has an open container law that generally makes it illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle. This article explains Nebraska's open container restrictions, the exceptions that apply, and the fines for open container tickets.

Nebraska's Open Container Rule

Nebraska 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.

Nebraska defines "alcoholic beverage" to include any beer, malt beverage, wine, distilled spirits, mixed drinks, and effectively any readily consumable beverage of at least .5% alcohol. So, some non-alcoholic beers and mixers may be permitted.

Nebraska's Open Container Law Applies to Everyone in the Vehicle

Nebraska's open container restriction applies to all persons within a car—including the driver and passengers. So it's possible for a driver or passenger to receive an open container ticket.

Nebraska's Open Container Rule Applies to Parked and Moving Vehicles

Nebraska's open container law applies to all vehicles located on public highways or parking lots. Consequently, police can cite you for an open container violation in a parked or moving vehicle.

Exceptions to Nebraska's Vehicle Open Container Prohibition

Several exceptions apply to Nebraska's open container rules.

Nebraska's Open Container Rules Don't Apply to Limos and Party Buses

Nebraska's open container law isn't applicable to passengers riding in certain types of vehicles, including statutorily authorized limousines and buses that have partitions between the driver and passengers. Passengers inside the partitioned areas of these vehicles are permitted to possess and consume alcohol.

Nebraska Law Allows Open Alcohol Containers in the Trunk of a Vehicle

Nebraska's open container laws are intended to apply to the passenger areas of the vehicle. The open container restrictions aren't applicable to items in 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 for Open Container Violations in Nebraska

An open container violation is an infraction in Nebraska. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $100 but no jail time. However, subsequent convictions can result in fines of up to $500. A person can be arrested for an open container violation but generally must be released (as opposed to being taken to jail) unless other circumstances exist that justify further detention.

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