In the last twenty years Montana has taken drinking and driving seriously tightening up laws and making sure our roads are a bit safer out there which made me believe all open container laws applied to anyone in the car.

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If I have a passenger and they have an alcoholic beverage, I usually tell them not to crack it, or pour it out. I'm always afraid of breaking open containers somehow.


Like I always say, when in doubt, bum them out.

Well, I found that I'm half right about this situation, a passenger can have an open container, however it depends on the circumstances.

According to Montana code 61-8-1026 Unlawful possession of open alcoholic beverage container in motor vehicle on highway. I still can't drink and drive, but my passenger can have one.

Unlawful possession of open alcoholic beverage container in motor vehicle on highway. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person commits the offense of unlawful possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in or on a motor vehicle if the person knowingly possesses an open alcoholic beverage container within the passenger area of a motor vehicle on a highway.

The Subsection applies exceptions for certain conditions.

(2) This section does not apply to an open alcoholic beverage container:

(e) in the immediate possession of a passenger:

- of a bus, taxi, or limousine that is used for the transportation of persons for compensation and that includes the provision of a hired driver; or

- in the living quarters of a camper, travel trailer, or motor home

One might want to keep it within these perimeters because if one were pulled over in their regular car, it would be hard to prove an exception to open container laws.

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