You might have seen this in our Facebook Posting: “In Mississippi you are allowed to drink while driving as long as you keep below the drunk-driving limit” (Really…?)” Much to my surprise, we got A LOT of feedback on this so I feel compelled to provide some clarification as well as more “interesting” facts.
In SOME Mississippi counties, it is actually legal to “consume alcohol while driving as long as the driver stays below the 0.08% blood alcohol content limit for drunk driving.” Notice I said SOME counties. About half of the counties in Mississippi are dry – meaning that “it is even illegal to bring alcohol into the county even if you’re moving a personal wine or spirits collection to one’s new residence in the adjoining county.” As noted by one of our Facebook fans, if you’re caught in one of those dry counties with liquor, you could be “charged with bootlegging.” Even a traffic dismissal course from I DRIVE SAFELY couldn’t help you there.
But why pick on Mississippi?
- Though Louisiana does have a ban on open containers, you can have frozen drinks in the car AS LONG AS THEY HAVE LIDS ON THEM! (What’s up with that? Getting a Big Gulp Hurricane from a drive-thru is legal?! But to be fair, you can’t have a straw sticking out of the lid.)
- In the U.S. Virgin Islands, bars will offer you a “roadie” in a to-go-cup when you’re heading out. (But the beach is the only place where you aren’t required to wear a shirt. Sup with that?)
- In Montana, you cannot have an open container but you can have a bottle of wine as long as it has a re-sealable cap. (That’s brilliant. Next time I won’t get wine stains on my pants when I spill my Night Train in the car.)
- In Alaska you can have an open container on a “Motor-Driven Cycle,” which basically means a motor scooter with less than 50cc of engine displacement. (Who’s making the laws!? Seriously. You can get buzzed while driving a moped!?!)
- In New York State, if you got caught with a bottle and it’s not factory-sealed, you’re in trouble. (New Yorkers, is there actually some sort of Official Seal over liquor bottle caps?)
- Then what about the states that have exceptions to open container laws that let you bring home the remains of a bottle of wine from a restaurant? The theory is it’s better to polish off the bottle at home rather than finish it at the restaurant. (Makes sense to me – kind of.)
- And this is one of my favorites… in some states, the passenger in the car can have an open container. In fact they can have two. (“No officer, that’s not my beer. My friend here is just REALLY thirsty.” Come on!)
There are also exceptions for “party-buses” and limousines that I won’t even get into here. One last fun factoid: in Florida, not only can you NOT have an open container in a car, you can’t even have an open container NEAR a car.
So, I hope this sheds some light on the liquor laws in these United States of confusion!