CA Vehicle Code 23222(a) VC
VC 23222(a) – Open Container in a Moving Vehicle
Open Container in a Moving Vehicle – Table of Contents
California Open Container in a Moving Vehicle Code 23222(a) is the possession of an open container in a moving vehicle of an alcoholic beverage while driving a motor vehicle.
CA VC 23222(a) makes it illegal to have in your possession while driving a motor vehicle any bottle, can, or another receptacle, that contains any alcoholic beverage which has been opened, has its seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.
Possession of an open container in a moving vehicle of alcohol in a motor vehicle is an infraction, and you can’t receive jail time as a result. You are also not entitled to a trial by jury, and you are not eligible for a public defender. You will be fined up to $250 if found guilty of CA VC 23222(a).
However, if you are also being charged with Driving Under the Influence, the judge can use your possession of an open container in a moving vehicle to influence the penalties you might face, including jail time.
In order to convict you under California Vehicle Code 23222(a), the prosecution must prove that you had an open container in a motor vehicle that contained alcohol. They also must prove that you were driving on a highway or on land, as described by Open Container in a Moving Vehicle VC 23220(b). This includes lands that are
“open and accessible to the public, except private lands under the immediate control of the owner or his or her agent where permission is required and has been granted to operate a motor vehicle.”
There are few defenses against an open container in a moving vehicle VC 23222(a). One defense against an open container in a moving vehicle charge is if the alcohol was in the truck of your vehicle. However, it is important to note that an open container of alcohol cannot be legally kept in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. If it is, you can be charged with possession of an open container. Another defense is if the open container was found during an illegal search of your vehicle. If this is the case, it is very important to contact a skilled defense attorney immediately to discuss your case. It is also necessary to hire a defense attorney if you are being charged with a DUI in addition to an open container infraction.
If you or a loved one is being charged with a VC 23222(a), Open Container in California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.
Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529
23222(a) No person shall have in his or her possession on his or her person, while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle, containing any alcoholic beverage which has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.
CA PC 19.6 (Infractions)
CA PC 19.8 (Infractions; fines)
How to Win Your Case
We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:
- Don’t ever talk to the police
- Do not discuss your case with anyone
- Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
- Tell police you need to contact your attorney
- Never consent to any search by the police
- If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
- Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
- Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
- Information on your cell phone is evidence
- Early Intervention is the key