What is the Open Container Law in Tennessee?

Tennessee Open Container Law (T.C.A. 55-10-416)

(a)  (1) No driver shall consume any alcoholic beverage or beer or possess an open container of alcoholic beverage or beer while operating a motor vehicle in this state.

(2) For purposes of this section:

(A) “Open container” means any container containing alcoholic beverages or beer, the contents of which are immediately capable of being consumed or the seal of which has been broken;

(B) An open container is in the possession of the driver when it is not in the possession of any passenger and is not located in a closed glove compartment, trunk or other nonpassenger area of the vehicle; and

(C) A motor vehicle is in operation if its engine is operating, whether or not the motor vehicle is moving.

(b)  (1) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by fine only.

(2) For a violation of this section, a law enforcement officer shall issue a citation in lieu of continued custody, unless the offender refuses to sign and accept the citation, as provided in § 40-7-118.

(c) This section shall not be construed to prohibit any municipality, by ordinance, or any county, by resolution, from prohibiting the passengers in a motor vehicle from consuming or possessing an alcoholic beverage or beer in an open container during the operation of the vehicle by its driver, or be construed to limit the penalties authorized by law for violation of the ordinance or resolution.

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