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      RS 32:300     


§300.  Possession of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles

A.  It shall be unlawful for the operator of a motor vehicle or the passenger in or on a motor vehicle, while the motor vehicle is operated on a public highway or right-of-way, to possess an open alcoholic beverage container, or to consume an alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of a motor vehicle.

B.  For purposes of this Section, the following words have the following meanings ascribed to them:

(1)  "Alcoholic beverage" means any of the following:

(a)  Beer, ale, porter, stout, and other similar fermented beverages, including sake or similar products, of any name or description containing one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume, brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part, or from any substitute therefor.

(b)  Wine of not less than one-half of one percent of alcohol by volume.

(c)  Distilled spirits which is that substance known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or spirits of wine in any form, including all dilutions and mixtures thereof from whatever source or by whatever process produced.

(2)  "Motor vehicle" means a vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public highways, but does not include a vehicle operated exclusively on a rail or rails.

(3)(a)  "Open alcoholic beverage container" means any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and to which any of the following is applicable:

(i)  It is open or has a broken seal.

(ii)  Its contents have been partially removed.

(b)  "Open alcoholic beverage container" shall not mean any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains a frozen alcoholic beverage unless the lid is removed, a straw protrudes therefrom, or the contents of the receptacle have been partially removed.

(4)  "Passenger area" means the area designed to seat the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in their seating positions, including the glove compartment. It shall not mean a locked glove compartment or behind the last upright seat, or any area not normally occupied by the driver or a passenger in a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk.

(5)  "Public highway or right-of-way" means the entire width between and immediately adjacent to the boundary lines of publicly maintained highways or roads when any part thereof is open to the use of the public.

C.  Notwithstanding R.S. 32:391 and 411, whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall not be taken into custody by the arresting officer, but instead shall be required either to deposit his driver's license with the arresting officer or give his written promise to appear. Furthermore, a violation of the provisions of this Section shall not be included in the records kept by the commissioner required in R.S. 32:393.1.

D.  (1) Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars.  Court costs shall be assessed in addition to the fine authorized by this Subsection.

(2)  For purposes of enforcement, the observance of a glass, cup, or other container that, on its face, does not indicate that the container contains an alcoholic beverage, shall not, absent other circumstances, constitute probable cause for a law enforcement officer to stop and question a person.

E.  This Section shall preempt the authority of a municipal or parish governing authority to enact any code or ordinance regulating the possession of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles. However, the local governing authority of a local governmental subdivision with a population of over fifty thousand as of the most recent federal decennial census may enact a code or ordinance that does not conflict with the substantive provisions of this Section, and such local code or ordinance may provide for the imposition and collection of fines and court costs for violations thereof for amounts in excess of the amounts provided in this Section. The preemption contained in this Subsection is solely for the purpose of providing for a uniform open container prohibition in motor vehicles throughout the state, and nothing in this Section shall be construed to further preempt the authority of a local government to provide for any other type of alcohol beverage regulation within its jurisdiction.

F.  The provisions of this Section shall not apply to the following persons or in the following areas:

(1)  Any person operating or occupying a motor vehicle who, as a condition of his employment and while acting in the course and scope of such employment, is required to carry open alcoholic beverage containers, provided that the operator or passenger does not consume the alcoholic beverages.

(2)  Any paid fare passenger on a common or contract carrier vehicle, as defined in R.S. 45:162.

(3)  Any paid fare passenger on a public carrier vehicle, as defined in R.S. 45:200.2.

(4)  Any passenger in a courtesy vehicle which is operated as a courtesy vehicle.

(5)  Any passenger of a self-contained motor home which is in excess of twenty-one feet in length.

(6)  Possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage in the trunk of a motor vehicle.

(7)  If the motor vehicle is not equipped with a trunk, possession of an open container or alcoholic beverages in any of the following areas:

(a)  In a locked glove or utility compartment.

(b)  In an area of the vehicle not normally occupied by, and not readily accessible, to the driver or passengers.

(8)  Passengers and krewe members riding on a parade float.

(9)  Any passenger in a privately owned limousine the driver of which possesses a Class D commercial driver's license.

Added by Acts 2000, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 97, §1.  Amended by Acts 2004, No. 15, §1.

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