It is illegal to operate a vehicle after having enough alcohol to affect your ability to drive or to exceed the per se limit for alcohol in your blood. New York also has an open container law that makes it illegal for people to have open bottles of alcohol in their vehicles.
Drinking while driving is illegal, and even passengers in most vehicles can’t possess a drink or be able to access an open container without the driver facing consequences if they get caught.
Whether you have a beer in the cup holder, a mixed drink in a reusable cup or even a half-drunk bottle of vodka in the cab of your vehicle rather than in the trunk, the presence of alcohol in the passenger area of your vehicle could all lead to criminal charges if a police officer spots those open containers in your vehicle.
However, there is an exception to the rule. When can you have alcohol in a motor vehicle in New York?
Some passenger vehicles can allow alcohol for those not driving
Group outings and paid tours are often social experiences. Like many social outings, they can benefit from the moderate inclusion of alcohol. As such, New York state law does allow certain passengers in specific vehicles to consume alcohol.
For example, those riding in a vehicle that can hold 10 or more people and who will not drive can consume alcohol in without violating New York state law. Anyone else runs the risk of an arrest and possibly multiple charges, especially if they were the one driving the vehicle.
Understanding the various laws New York has about alcohol in vehicles can help you avoid open container charges or respond to drunk driving allegations.