We're all familiar with prohibitions against drinking and driving. But what about drinking and riding? If you've ever been stuck behind a pedal pub or party bus, you know there must be some situations where you can drink while riding in a moving vehicle.
With Minnesota's strict liquor laws, it's important to know where the state draws the line. Here are three important things to know about Minnesota's open bottle law.
1. Not all vehicles are subject to the open bottle law.
The open bottle law does not apply to passengers in buses, limousines or pedal pubs. This doesn't mean you can just crack one open on any city bus, of course, just that the state open bottle law doesn't cover buses (Metro Transit, for example, prohibits alcohol on board its buses). When in doubt, ask the driver.
2. For storage, trunks are OK. Glove boxes are not.
What if you have half a bottle of wine to bring home after a dinner party? You can transport it in your car, but it can't be in a passenger area. A trunk is fine, as is a truck bed or hatchback storage area. A glove box, however, is considered to be a passenger area. A good rule of thumb is to make sure alcohol isn't anywhere a passenger can easily reach it.
3. You're liable for open containers in your vehicle, even if you're not present.
It's a misdemeanor to have an open bottle in your car, whether or not you are present. This is something to watch out for when loaning your car.
Violations of the open bottle law are typically classified as misdemeanors, and a common fine is $100.