Utah’s Open Container Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

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

Utah law prohibits any person from possessing or consuming 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.

This restriction applies to all persons within the car—including the driver and passengers—and to any vehicle or electric bicycle located on public highways or ”waters of the state.”

Alcoholic beverage. Utah defines “alcoholic beverage” to include any beer, malt beverage, wine, distilled spirit, mixed drink, and other consumable beverage that has at least .5% alcohol. So, some non-alcoholic beers and mixers might be exempt.

Exceptions

Certain vehicles. Utah’s open container law doesn’t apply to passengers riding in certain types of vehicles, including statutorily authorized limousines and chartered buses. Riders inside the passenger areas of these vehicles are permitted to possess and consume alcohol. Passengers in taxis and public buses may also possess open containers but are prohibited from consumption.

Motor home or camper. Passengers located in the living quarters of a motor home or camper are exempt from open container restrictions.

Motorboat. While Utah’s open container laws apply to all waters within the state, passengers aboard motorboats are permitted to possess and consume open containers.

Areas of the vehicle. Utah’s open container laws are intended to apply to the passenger areas of the vehicle—meaning, open container restrictions aren’t applicable to items in the trunk of the car or areas not accessible to the driver or passengers while the car is in motion.

Fines

An open container violation is a class C misdemeanor in Utah. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $750 and a maximum jail sentence of 90 days.

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