Driving under the influence is a serious offense in North Dakota and Minnesota. This is something most people know. Do you know that having an open container of alcohol in your car is also a significant offense in both states — regardless of whether the container belongs to the driver or a passenger.
What are the penalties?
In Minnesota, being found with an open container in your vehicle can lead to imprisonment of up to 90 days and being charged a fine of up to $1,000. In North Dakota, the penalties are not quite as severe. A fine of $50 may be imposed. If the driver is the one with the open container, the violation may be noted on his or her driving record.
Fighting the ticket
Generally, an open container violation results in a ticket rather than an arrest — unless the driver is clearly intoxicated. It is suggested that the ticket not be paid until you speak to legal counsel. It may be possible to fight the citation.
Defend yourself in court
If your case does result in criminal charges and does end up going to court, legal counsel can help you deal with that too. A criminal charge does not always result in a conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to assist fight the charges in hopes of achieving a case dismissal or, at least, a reduction in charges and penalties. Every case is different and this is definitely a more significant offense in Minnesota than North Dakota, but in either state, it is not something you want to ignore once it has happened. To learn more about open container laws and how legal counsel can help you if you find yourself facing an open container violation, please take a moment and visit our firm’s website.