Is Drinking as a Passenger Legal? Understanding the Rules in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa
When was the last time a passenger in your vehicle asked if they could crack open a beer? Hmmm, I hope it wasn't here in South Dakota. Or, while driving in neighboring Minnesota or Iowa. In fact, why, where ever you are driving would you agree to such a request?
For decades the media has pushed out marketing announcements about Don't Drink and Drive. Every state in the country has different laws concerning the consumption of alcohol while driving.
Little did you know there are ten states in the U.S. that allow passengers to have an open container of alcohol. In an online report from Motorbiscuit.com, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia all allow a vehicle’s passengers to possess open containers of alcohol.
“Open container” doesn’t mean a cup without a top. It means any container that no longer has its original seal.
SOUTH DAKOTA LAW
§35-1-9.1: Illegal for any person occupying a motor vehicle located upon a public highway or the right-of-way of a public highway to consume any alcoholic beverage or have a package or any receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage in that person's possession unless the seal of the original package remains unbroken or the alcoholic beverage is so removed from the passenger area of the motor vehicle that no occupant of the motor vehicle has access to it.
Fine: Misdemeanor, up to $100 fine or up to 30 days jail.
Subd. 2: It is a crime for a person to drink or consume an alcoholic beverage, distilled spirit, or 3.2 percent malt liquor in a motor vehicle when the vehicle is upon a street or highway.
Fine: Misdemeanor, fine up to $1,000, up to 90 days jail, or both.
§321.284: A driver of a motor vehicle upon a public street or highway shall not possess in the passenger area of the motor vehicle an open or unsealed bottle, can, jar, or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage.
Fine: Simple misdemeanor, $100 fine for a passenger convicted under the open container law, DMV cannot include the violation on the person's driving record and cannot consider it in any proceeding related to the person's driving license.
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