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What are the open container laws in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Drinking and driving is an obvious criminal act in Illinois. But there are adjacent crimes that could land you in hot water as well.

Having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle while driving is also an illegal act. Illinois open container laws state that no person can possess an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle without facing potential charges.

Open container definition

The only legal way to transport alcohol within your vehicle in the state is in its original container with an unbroken seal. The guidelines apply to everyone within the vehicle. A bottle that was open but you reclosed still counts as an open container.


The law defines carrying an open container as illegal when the alcohol is within the passenger area of the vehicle. If you have an open container in your trunk area, then it is not the same situation.


There are some exceptions to this law. For example, if you are in a limousine, you can have an open container, and you can drink while the vehicle is moving. The same applies to chartered buses. The only rule is these beverages cannot be in the driver’s area.

Violating the state’s open container law could result in a license suspension and additional issues if an officer believes the driver was consuming the alcohol. Open container laws seek to prevent drinking and driving. They make it easier for an officer to investigate suspicions that a driver is under the influence. They also help protect passengers from drivers who may drink and drive.