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Illegal Transportation Of Open Alcoholic Beverages

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"Hello, I was wondering if there is a limit on what is illegal transportation of alcohol. I was using my dads truck and he had old beer cans in it. I did not know about them. They were very old anyways and I got a ticket for illegal transportation. I did not know they were even there, I was wondering if there is some kind of rule or stimpulation on it.
Thank you"

The law on Transportation or possession of alcoholic liquor in a motor vehicle (625 ILCS 5/11-502) states that "no driver may transport, carry, possess or have any alcoholic liquor within any passenger area of any motor vehicle upon a highway except in the original container and with the seal unbroken"

The seal is generally considered to be the can lid or bottle top, not the paper or plastic container for the package of cans or bottles. It is never a good idea to have open cans or bottles of alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, either in the passenger compartment, or in reach of the passenger compartment.

That said, your case may have been a judgement call on the part of the officer who issued you a ticket. The intent of the law is to penalize persons who are drinking while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. If this was truly not the case with you, I would encourage you to plead not guilty and let the Judge decide your case. Be prepared to provide some testimony to back your story up, such as having your Dad appear and explain the situation to the Judge. You may at least get court supervision in the matter. Still, the law technically applies to any open containers present, whether they are yours or not.

It can sometimes be difficult for a Police Officer to determine if an open container of alcoholic beverage has been recently opened, or if it has been there for some time. (Which is why it is a good idea to never have any open containers in your vehicle) Many Police Officers will make notes when they write such a ticket, noting their observations, such as that the can felt cold to the touch, or that residue beverage was inside the container, etc.

The above section (except for the word "transport") also applies to passengers in a vehicle, with the exception being a limousine with a divided partition for the passengers.

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5 Comments

I got an illegal transportation last night and I was in the back seat of the vehicle. I am under 21. I wasnt drinking and they gave me a breathalizer to prove it. There was alchohol sitting by me though. Was it fair to give me that ticket since I was in the back seat and wasnt drinking? They gave me a city ordinance ticket which is $200. Is there any chance that they might drop it? I never had a ticket in the past and my record is clean. When I go to court should I plead guilty or not guilty. My parents are makeing me pay for it and I really dont have the money. I dont know what to do. Do you have any advice?

FROM M/Sgt. Ness:
Stephanie, sometimes people are put in situations where they are in the presence of illegal activity, and may be included in charges by association. I don't know what city ordinance you were accused of breaking says, but Illegal Transportation of Alcoholic Liquor by a passenger as a state charge says that "no passenger may carry, possess or have any alcoholic liquor within any passenger area of any motor vehicle upon a highway in this State except in the original container and with the seal unbroken."
The Illinois Law that prohibits possession of Alcoholic Liquor by a person under 21(235 ILCS 5/6-20) states that that person may not purchase, have in their possession, or accept any alcoholic liquor. It is a Class A Misdemeanor.
Although I can't provide legal advice, it may be to your benefit to appear in court and plead not guilty. This is always your right to do so. Perhaps the breathalyzer evidence will help your case in telling the Judge that you the liquor was not in your possession. I wish you the best with your situation.
Randy

I received an illegal transportation in the car with 5 other people. Is this considered a moving violation if I am on court supervision for a previous ticket?

FROM M/SGT NESS:

Janice, if you received the citation as a passenger, it should not count as a moving violation. If you were the driver of the vehicle, however, it would count as a moving violation. Thanks for your question.
Randy

I was in a car with my friends and we dropped one of our friends off at home and he left his alcohol in a cup in the car and we got pulled over shortly thereafter. since i was in the back seat where the alcohol was the police gave me a ticket for unerage minor in possesion of alcohol and illegal transportation of alcohol. Is there any way that i can get out of the fine because i wasn't drinking they gave me a breathalyzer as well to check. I don't have anything else on my record. Any advice will help. I just don't want to pay the fine because i don't haave the money for it

FROM M/SGT. NESS:
Derrick, you should go to court and present your case to the Judge or Jury. If you disagree with the citation, you should plead not guilty and present your case, along with any evidence or testimony that would support your position. It is your right for a trial and you should take advantage of it if you believe you are not guilty.
-Randy

My husband was cited for illeagal transportation of alcohol and fine 500.00 he had two unopened beers in the passenger seat he was not drunk or drinking should he go to court and fight it

FROM M/SGT NESS:

The offense of illegal transportation of alcohol prohibits open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. If your husband feels he did not break this law, he should go to court and tell the Judge or jury his story. It is his right, and he should excercise it.
Randy

I was pulled over and had an empty beer bottle on the front console and a capped bottle in a bag. I was charged with illegal transportation of alcohol. I was not drunk but one officer said he's taking the full bottle and put the empty bottle in the bed of the pick-up truck. Can they cite me for illegal transportation of alcohol even though they left the empty bottle in my truck? Before I left one cop said he was putting it there and to dispose of it when I got home.

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This page contains a single entry by Randy Ness published on January 30, 2006 1:40 PM.

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