You just left a friend’s house and you hadn’t finished your beer. You screwed the cap back on and left the half-full bottle on the floor of your car. Just your luck, on the way home, you blew a stop sign and got pulled over by police. Then they saw the beer bottle. Now you are charged with possession of alcoholic liquor in a motor vehicle.

In Illinois, no driver or passenger may transport, carry or possess any alcoholic beverage in the passenger compartment of their car unless that alcohol is in its original container and the seal is unbroken. There are exceptions for passengers of limousines and charter buses, provided the driver does not drink.

Open alcohol is generally considered a petty offense, meaning you are most likely to receive a fine and a term of supervision. If you are convicted of carrying open alcohol for a second time within one year, however, you could have your driver’s license suspended. Additionally, any driver under the age of 21 convicted of this offense can automatically lose their driver’s license under Illinois’s Zero Tolerance policy.

If you have questions about this or another criminal law issue, do not hesitate to contact Matt Keenan by phone 847-568-0160 or email

See our related DUI blog at

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves clients in the communities of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Palatine, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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This entry was posted in drivers license suspension, Illinois zero tolerance policy, open alcohol, petty offense, possession of alcohol, transport of alcohol, underage driver. Bookmark the permalink.

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