Open Container Laws in Ohio

Similar to every other state, Ohio has strict open container laws for people walking or driving with an open bottle or glass of alcohol. These laws were created to protect the general public from public intoxication and to deter drivers from keeping opened alcohol containers in their car. Although it may not seem like a serious charge, having an open container could result in large fines and in some cases even jail.

If you or someone you know was arrested for having an open container in Ohio, it’s crucial that you understand the full extent of open container laws. We recommend you read the article below and secure trusted legal representation for your case. A skilled attorney can assess your charges and see what the best option is moving forward. 

Cincinnati Attorney Explains Open Container Laws in Ohio

Have you been arrested for carrying an open container? If yes, then we suggest you hire experienced legal representation. Open container laws are vast and confusing in Ohio and lawmakers recently updated the statute as of July 3, 2019. If you or someone you know needs a defense attorney, then contact Joslyn Law Firm. 

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm have years of experience defending people accused of alcohol crimes including open container. We can provide an effective and efficient defense for you using our skills and techniques we’ve collected over the years. Contact us now to set up your first consultation absolutely free. 

Joslyn Law Firm represents people throughout the greater Hamilton County area including Cincinnati, Cleves, Norwood, and Blue Ash. 

Overview of Open Container Laws in Ohio


Penalties for Having an Open Container in Ohio

In Ohio, you are not allowed to carry an open container in any public place unless you’re in a specific scenario that’s considered an exception. Having an open container in your car will lead to further enhanced sentence. If you carry an open container in Ohio, then you could be charged with a minor misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $150.

Consumption or possession of an open container of alcohol is a fourth-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. A fourth-degree misdemeanor can result in a maximum jail sentence of up to 30 days and a $250 fine. If the officer asks you to undergo DUI testing and you pass the legal limit, you could also be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI).


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Exceptions to Ohio’s Open Container Laws

It’s illegal to carry an open container in a public place in Ohio. However, the state allows people to carry alcohol beverages if they are in certain zones that have the appropriate permits and they are following the rules of that premises. These exceptions to open container laws include:

  • Alcoholic beverages that were lawfully purchased and consumed on a premises where they hold either a A-1-A, A-2, A-2f, A-3a, D-1, D-2, D-3, D-3a, D-4, D-4a, D-5, D-5a, D-5b, D-5c, D-5d, D-5e, D-5f, D-5g, D-5h, D-5i, D-5j, D-5k, D-5l, D-5m, D-5n, D-5o, D-7, D-8, E, F, F-2, F-5, F-7, or F-8 permit;
  • Served beer wine or mixed beverages on the premises of a F-3 permit holder;
  • Served wine as a tasting sample for an A-2 permit holder or S permit holder;
  • Wine served on the premises of a F-4 or F-6 permit holder;
  • Beer or liquor consumed on the premises of a convention facility;
  • Beer or liquor consumed during a tasting or sampling approved by the rule of liquor control commission;
  • Spirituous liquor consumed as a tasting sample;
  • Not purchased liquor from the premises if it’s a music festival and the owner has a F liquor permit as well as they allow you to bring alcoholic beverages on the property;
  • Not a purchased wine from the premises if it’s an outdoor performing arts center with a D-2 permit and you are attending an orchestral performance and the owner allows you to bring the wine onto the property;
  • Not a purchased liquor or beer from the premises if it’s an outdoor performing arts center or orchestral performance with a F-9 permit and you are attending an and the owner allows you to bring the beverages onto the property;
  • Beer or liquor from an outdoor motorsports facility that was not purchased on the premises if the owner of the facility allows you to bring the beverages;
  • Beer or liquor at an outdoor refreshment area that was purchased from a vendor with a A-1, A-1-A, A-1c, A-2, A-2f, D class, or F class permit and you stay within that outdoor refreshment area’s premises;
  • The alcoholic beverages came from a market with a F-8 permit and they allow the consumption of alcohol or notify the division of liquor control about the event;
  • You are a guest in a limousine;
  • You are riding a commercial quadricycle and aren’t doing any of the following:
    • Occupying the front seat where you steer or brake;
    • Use the bicycle on a public road or highway where traffic is present; or
    • Have more than thirty-six ounces of beer or eighteen ounces of wine 

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Additional Resources

Alcoholics Anonymous – Visit the official website of Alcoholics Anonymous to learn more about their mission to end the suffering of alcoholics worldwide. Access the site to find more information about the 12 Step Process, meetings and resources for people struggling with their addiction. 

Ohio’s Open Container Laws – Visit the official website of Ohio’s Revised Code to learn more about their open container laws. Access’s the statute to learn more about open containers, premises where you can have them and what happens if you violate open container laws.


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Open Container Lawyer in Hamilton County, Ohio

If you or someone you know has been charged with carrying an open container of alcohol, you must act now. Open container charges are serious and can have an impact on your life with employers if they find your charges or conviction in a background check. Do yourself a favor and protect your rights with Joslyn Law Firm. 

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm are skilled in all types of law including violations of alcohol statutes. We can assess the evidence and build a strong case for you. Call us now to learn more about our practice and schedule your first consultation free. Joslyn Law Firm represents people throughout the greater Hamilton County area and surrounding counties including  Franklin County, Butler County, Pickaway County, Fairfield County and Weber County.


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This article was last updated on July 31, 2019.