What to Know About Open Container Laws for Alcohol and Marijuana in Naperville, IL

Alcohol and marijuana laws in the United States are complicated to say the least. For instance, fourteen states, including Illinois, have legalized recreational marijuana.

However, the law is almost never a question of absolutes, even in the cases of a revoked license. The majority of states have open container laws, which significantly limit where and when you can drink in public. Federal law also prohibits driving with a certain amount of alcohol in your system.

However, the drunk driving laws are some of the few that apply at a federal level. In most other cases, drinking and marijuana laws are slightly different in each state.

We'll talk about the situation in Naperville and the rest of Illinois, especially regarding open container laws, in this article.

Open Container Laws and What they Mean

Illinois has a law against open containers, meaning that you're not allowed to have an open container of alcohol in an operating vehicle. It makes no difference if the car is parked or if the drink is in the passenger seat.

Illinois law prohibits having an open container in any part of the car. Taking alcohol from a restaurant in Naperville or other towns in a resealed container is also illegal.

It is, however, legal to take wine home from a restaurant if the container is sealed securely and placed in a container that can't be closed again after opening. A good example would be the plastic wrap around online orders.

This ensures that the driver hasn't consumed the wine while operating a vehicle.

Breaking these laws could result in serious charges, especially for those under 21. The state has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking. Not only could you lose your license, but you could face jail time.

Illinois license reinstatement is a hassle. You'll have to pay $500, plus whatever you'd have to pay just to apply, and then you have to pass the driving test again.

Open Container Exceptions

We've already mentioned that there's often not one clear answer when it comes to law. Illinois open container laws exemplify this.

While you're not allowed to have any open containers of alcohol in a car, whether you're driving or not, certain vehicles, such as limousines, mobile homes, and private busses are an exception, but only for the passengers. Even though there's no chance you'll be driving, public buses are no place to drink.

It is legal, however, to drink on planes and trains, assuming you're a passenger. You can be charged with a DUI if you're piloting a boat while drunk. You can even be arrested for piloting a kayak drunk.

Passengers on the boat are able to drink, but it might be risky, because boats often aren't that big, and people tend to get reckless when drunk or stoned.

Marijuana and Driving

Marijuana is another complex topic in Illinois. Recreational marijuana use has been legal in Illinois for about two years, and the state had a medical program for 6 years.

Open container laws are similar for marijuana as they are for alcohol. The container must be sealed to the point that not even the scent can escape. The container also needs to be childproof, for obvious reasons.

It's also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, and there is a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana as well. Much like liquor, the legal age for marijuana in Illinois is 21.

However, unlike liquor, marijuana can stay in your system for several days. If you smoked cannabis yesterday and decided to drive around today, you can be arrested under the zero-tolerance policy.

Legal or not, though, don't think you can just refuse the test. Illinois is an applied consent state, where just driving the car means that you can't refuse tests

This is more of a worst-case scenario, though. Cannabis will show up on a drug test, but you'd have to know to look for it.

If you are charged with a cannabis DUI, and are of legal age, you may have a better chance to get the charges dismissed. Given the amount of confusion and variability surrounding marijuana use, it's harder to tell if someone is actually impaired or how long ago they used it.

Penalties

Suppose you are caught driving under the influence or with an open container in your car in the Naperville area. What are the consequences?

It depends on what you did, because the penalties differ quite a bit for open container and a DUI. An open container charge will get you a fine, which can go up to $1,000. 

License suspension will be added to this if you're charged with open container multiple times in a year. If you're a minor, the suspension is automatic with a first offense. A minor's license may be revoked for a second offense.

This means that you'll have to go through the whole process of license reinstatement.

A DUI is a much more serious offense. A DUI often leads to jail time, up to a year for a first offense. In the case of medical marijuana, you can have your medical card revoked for up to two years if you have one.

If you're a medical marijuana provider, you can have your license to sell revoked for two years. 

Driving while high on marijuana will often be treated the same way as drinking and driving. You'll lose your license and may face jail time. 

Open Container Laws in Naperville and the Rest of Illinois

We've mentioned in the paragraphs above that most states have some form of open container law. Some others don't necessarily forbid open containers, but the driver is not allowed to drink while driving. 

In Illinois, on the other hand, having any kind of open container of alcohol in the car is illegal. We've talked about Illinois's open container laws in this article, but there's a lot more to know.

If you want to know more about legal issues or lost your license to open container laws, please visit our site. We encourage you to contact us with any questions and concerns you might have.