Fenters Ward is here to give you the do’s and don’ts.
This week local news media outlets have been reporting that a new law has come into effect which will allow bars and restaurants to serve ‘to-go’ drinks for curb-side pickup. The purpose of the law is to help generate revenue for restaurants suffering due to COVID-19. However, there may be unintended consequences for PA motorists and those who are unaware of the law.
PA citizens need to understand that the open container law is still in full effect. The open container law is codified at 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3809. What we don’t want to see is an increase in criminal citations following this new ‘curb-side alcohol’ law.
Here are a couple quick legal tips you need to be aware of:
– It is illegal to have an open container in any private vehicle in PA. Some people have a mistaken believe that you can have an open container in a vehicle if you are a passenger. That is generally untrue. That exception only applies to commercial transportation such as: uber, taxi cabs, and limousines / buses.
– It is illegal to have an open container in any public space.
– Actual consumption does not need to be proven in order for police to file charges for open containers in vehicles or in public.
– If you have ‘to-go-drinks’ in your car, that could provide probable cause to be stopped or your vehicle searched.
At our law firm we have handled hundreds of criminal charges, many of them DUI related. We want to make sure everyone has a safe and fun holiday weekend and can enjoy this new law without any trouble. Our advice is to keep the drinks closed and out of view when in your vehicle. Do not enjoy your drinks until you are safely at home or out of a public space.
If you have any legal questions please feel free to call me at 877-259-WARD, or visit us at www.fetnersward.com. Let us win your next fight. Thanks guys and stay well!