Open Container Laws in Las Vegas and How They Can Affect My Accident Claim


Driving a car with an open container of alcohol is against the law in Nevada. If you suffered injuries in an auto accident involving a drunk driver, you could have a strong case for compensation — especially if the impaired driver had an open bottle of beer or liquor in the car. The open container law in Las Vegas can help you prove your case.

Injuries from drunk-driving crashes can be devastating, requiring long-term rehabilitation, time off work, and disabilities that last a lifetime. An experienced car accident lawyer from THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys can help you hold the drunk driver who hurt you accountable for their actions. We offer free case reviews and work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs for pursuing the compensation and justice you deserve.

Let’s get started on your case now. Contact us today for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Las Vegas.

What Exactly is an Open Container?

An open container refers to any unsealed vessel that contains alcoholic beverages, including liquor, wine, and beer. Examples of open containers include cups or glasses of alcohol, beer bottles or cans with open tops, and unscrewed or uncorked wine or liquor bottles. Under Nevada law, an unsealed container can never be closed, even if a cork or cap covers the opening.

What are Open Container Laws and Why are They in Place?

Open container laws prohibit people from possessing an unsealed container of alcohol in public under certain circumstances. These laws typically come in two forms and vary by location:

  • Public possession of an open container – This law makes it illegal for people to walk in public while holding an open container. Its purpose is to prevent public drunkenness, violence due to intoxication, and littering (particularly of glass containers that can break and pose an injury hazard to people). See more on Nevada and Las Vegas drinking in public laws below.
  • Possession of an open container in a vehicle – By law, vehicle occupants cannot have possession of an open container within the passenger cabin. Vehicle open-container laws typically apply to drivers and passengers and are designed to lower the chances of drunk driving.

In Nevada, it is generally legal for people aged 21 and older to walk in public with an open container of alcohol. However, the Las Vegas Municipal Code outlines specific open container laws that apply to the Strip, Fremont Street, Downtown, and within the Pedestrian Mall.

On the Strip, pedestrians may carry open containers of alcohol as long as they are paper, plastic, or aluminum. Glass containers are prohibited on the Strip (even if they contain non-alcoholic beverages).

In Downtown and on Fremont Street, pedestrians may carry open containers purchased at a casino with a tavern license. Aluminum and glass containers are prohibited on the Fremont Street Experience. Open containers of any kind are not allowed on the Pedestrian Mall.

In Las Vegas, open container laws also prevent containers from being carried at bus stops or within 1,000 feet of churches, liquor stores, schools, hospitals, or homeless shelters. In unincorporated Clark County, pedestrians may not possess open containers in parking lots, public parks (except at permitted events), or within 1,000 feet of a store where they purchased a closed container.

Exceptions to these laws may apply at special events.

Can You Have an Open Container in a Car in Las Vegas?

Under Nevada state law, it is generally illegal for a driver or a passenger to have an open container anywhere within the passenger cabin. Having an open container in the car is a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail plus a potential fine of up to $1,000. These penalties double if the vehicle stopped in a work or pedestrian safety zone. This offense may be charged in addition to a DUI charge against an intoxicated driver. However, even sober drivers with an open container violate the law.

Which Vehicles Do Not Apply to Nevada’s Open Container Law?

Passengers may possess open containers in certain types of vehicles. These include recreational vehicles or house trailers. Passengers are permitted to have open containers in the living quarters of these vehicles. Occupants may also possess open containers in commercial vehicles, such as:

  • Limousines
  • Town cars
  • Trolleys
  • Tour buses
  • Party buses
  • Shuttles
  • Taxis

These vehicles are only exempted from the open container law if they have a partition between the driver’s seat and the passenger seats. Carrying an open container in a rideshare vehicle, such as an Uber or Lyft, is not permitted. That’s because rideshare cars are considered private vehicles, not commercial ones.

Las Vegas Driving Under the Influence Laws

In Las Vegas, NV, someone may be deemed driving under the influence of alcohol whenever they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more. Commercial drivers are limited to 0.04 percent, while those under 21 may not have a BAC of 0.02 percent.

However, a driver may still be convicted of DUI without proof of their BAC, based on other evidence, such as an arresting officer’s observations of the driver’s behavior.

A first-time conviction for DUI carries penalties that include:

  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Two days to six months in jail or community service
  • Fines of $400 to $1,000, plus additional fees
  • Requirement to attend DUI school or substance abuse treatment
  • Requirement to install an ignition interlock device as a condition of retaining driving privileges

Penalties may increase for subsequent DUI convictions. Impaired drivers who injure others in a crash could also be held financially accountable for their negligence through a personal injury lawsuit. THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys provides fierce representation to accident victims so that drunk drivers pay for their recklessness.

Open Containers Cause Distractions

Beyond their intoxicating effects, open containers distract drivers. A motorist who drinks from an open container takes their eyes at least one hand off the wheel as they pick up an open container, drink from it, or put it back in a cupholder or another compartment. Those few seconds of distraction can cause a driver to make a hazardous error and cause a crash.

How an Open Container Can Affect Your Case

Getting compensation after a car accident means proving the other driver was negligent — and there are few acts more negligent than drinking while driving. If you noticed that the other driver had an open container in their car after an accident, get a photo with your cell phone. Photographs are valuable evidence in any personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Get Help from a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer in Las Vegas

THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys is a proven Las Vegas personal injury law firm with a reputation for excellence and compassionate legal representation. When you’re hurt, you can trust us to fight for the money you need to get your life back on track. You deserve nothing less than maximum compensation.

Call or contact us today for a free case review.