Headed to a barbeque and want to bring some beer? Maybe you’re giving a champagne toast to your friend for his new job? If you are planning on bringing alcohol in your car, you should think about where you’re putting it.
The passenger seat is definitely not an option, but did you know that the backseat or even the floorboard in the backseat is also not where it should be while you’re driving?
In New Hampshire it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger section of your car. Under RSA 265-A:44, the only way to legally transport alcohol within the passenger area of the car is if the liquor is in its original container and the seal is unbroken. If the bottle has been opened, the alcohol must be transported in the trunk of the car.
What if your car does not have a trunk? Perhaps you’re driving a pick up truck or a minivan. In those cases, the law states that the containers “shall be stored and transported in that compartment or area of the vehicle which is the least accessible to the driver.”
Additionally, at no time is it legal for any passenger of a car to be in possession of an open container, whether they are drinking or simply holding it. This rule applies even if the vehicle is parked. The only way a passenger can hold a bottle of wine or a can of beer is if it has its original seal intact. And that can only happen if it’s in the area least accessible by the driver.
A driver found guilty of illegally transporting alcoholic beverages faces a $150 fine and the driver may lose his or her license for up to 60 days. If this is a second offense, the fines can increase up to a $1,000 and the driver may lose his or her license for up to a year.
In New Hampshire, Transporting Alcohol by a minor is illegal. Anyone under the age of 21 cannot transport alcohol unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or legal age spouse, according to RSA 265-A:45. Transporting alcohol by a minor in NH can have serious consequences. Boats are also specifically included, stating that no one operating a boat under the age of 21 shall transport liquor with the intent to consume it.
If an underage driver is convicted of driving with alcohol in his or her car, he or she faces a loss of license for 60 days. If this happens on a boat the operator loses his or her privilege to operate a boat for 90 days – which, in New Hampshire is essentially the entire summer.
Before you just toss the bottle of wine or handle of vodka in your backseat, think about how little effort it takes to open your trunk and put the liquor in there instead.
Whether you are facing a violation of illegal transportation of alcohol or a more serious DWI charge, the New Hampshire criminal defense lawyers at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. can help. Call (603) 624-3700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation with an attorney from Tenn And Tenn, P.A.