Oklahoma’s Open Container Law

The laws, exceptions, and penalties for drinking, possessing, and transporting open containers of alcohol in a motor vehicle in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma generally prohibits consuming alcohol as well as possessing and transporting open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles, with a few exceptions. This article provides an overview of Oklahoma’s open container law, related laws, exceptions, and the penalties for violations.

Open Container Law

It’s unlawful for a driver to knowingly transport or for a passenger to possess any “intoxicating beverage or low-point beer” that is opened or has the original seal removed in any moving vehicle on a public highway, street, or alley.

Intoxicating beverage. An “intoxicating beverage” is any beverage containing more than 3.2% of alcohol by weight and all mixed beverage coolers no matter what percent of alcohol content.

Low-point beer. A “low-point beer” means all beverages that contain more than .5% of alcohol by volume and not more than 3.2% of alcohol by weight, including beer and cereal malt beverages.

Penalties

A person who violates the open container law commits a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and/or up to six months in a county jail. In addition, the court will impose a special assessment of $100 (for the Trauma Care Assistance Revolving Fund).

Exceptions

Trunk and outside compartments. An open intoxicating beverage or low-point beer can lawfully be kept in:

  • the trunk or rear compartment, including the spare tire compartment of a station wagon or panel truck, or
  • any outside compartment if it isn’t accessible to the driver or any passenger while the vehicle is in motion.

Buses and limousines. A passenger can lawfully possess an open intoxicating beverage or low-point beer in the passenger area of a bus and limousine.

A bus is defined as a vehicle that is chartered for transportation of persons for hire and doesn’t include a school bus that transports children or a vehicle operating within a city or town on a scheduled route.

A limousine means a “chauffeur-driven” motor vehicle used for the transportation of persons for compensation and doesn’t include a bus or taxicab.

However, it is unlawful for:

  • the driver of a bus or limousine to consume or have an intoxicating beverage or low-point beer in the driver’s immediate possession, and
  • any person owning or operating a hired bus or limousine service to knowingly transport persons under 21 years of age who are consuming or are in possession of alcohol.

If the driver of a bus or limousine transports minors who are consuming or are in possession of alcohol, it’s a misdemeanor offense. For a first conviction, the maximum fine is $500. For a second conviction, the driver will be fined and subject to a mandatory revocation of driving privileges.

The owner of a bus or limousine who violates this restriction also commits a misdemeanor offense. The maximum fine is $500 for a first conviction. For a second conviction, the owner will be fined and must forfeit for one year any government-issued license authorizing the owner to operate a hired bus or limousine service.

Prohibition Against Consuming Alcohol in Vehicles

In addition to the prohibition against possessing and transporting alcohol in vehicles, Oklahoma’s public intoxication law prohibits consuming alcohol in vehicles. It is unlawful for a person to drink or otherwise consume any intoxicating liquor in any public place, passenger coach, streetcar, or any other vehicle used for the transportation of passengers.

A person who violates the public intoxication law commits a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $10 to $100 and/or jail for five to 30 days.

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