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Can having an open container of alcohol affect your CDL?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Criminal Law |

As a long-haul truck driver, you spend hundreds of hours behind the wheel every single year.  In the middle of a tedious trip, you might want to climb into the back of your truck and open a bottle of beer, spirits or wine. Doing so, though, may put your commercial driver’s license in jeopardy.

Like in other places, it is unlawful to have an open container of alcohol inside a motor vehicle. There are exceptions, though. Still, if you are facing allegations of violating New Jersey law, it is important to understand both your legal exposure and options as soon as possible.

The open container law

According to New Jersey law, no driver or passenger in a motor vehicle can have an open or unsealed container of alcohol without violating state law. It is permissible, however, to have an open container in any of the following areas:

  • The trunk
  • Behind the last row of seats for vehicles that do not have trunks
  • The living area of a motorhome

Your CDL license

If you have an open container, you can expect an officer to suspect you may be driving under the influence. DUI-related offenses, of course, can jeopardize your CDL. Consequently, to avoid raising the suspicion of officers, it is advisable to comply with New Jersey’s open container law.

You do not have to stand idly by while prosecutors pursue criminal charges against you or someone tries to take away your CDL, of course. Ultimately, mounting an aggressive defense may allow you to escape the penalties of having an open container in your vehicle, including possibly losing your CDL.