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Colorado Open alcoholic beverage container — motor vehicle - prohibited.

Colorado statute CRS 42-4-1305 outlines restrictions and exceptions related to having an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle. In most cases, violating these provisions is a Class A traffic infraction punishable by a $50 fine plus a $7.80 surcharge.

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Penalties for Having an Open Alcoholic Beverage Container in a Motor Vehicle in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
Open alcoholic beverage container – motor vehicle Traffic infraction


Class A: $50 fine, plus $7.80 surcharge

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 42-4-1305:


Section 42-4-1305 – Open alcoholic beverage container – motor vehicle – prohibited

(1) Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Marijuana” shall have the same meaning as in section 16(2)(f) of article XVIII of the state constitution.

(b) “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.

(c) “Open marijuana container” means a receptacle or marijuana accessory that contains any amount of marijuana and:

(I) That is open or has a broken seal;

(II) The contents of which are partially removed; and

(III) There is evidence that marijuana has been consumed within the motor vehicle.

(d) “Passenger area” means the area designed to seat the driver and passengers, including seating behind the driver, while a motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in his or her seating position, including but not limited to the glove compartment.

(2)(a) Except as otherwise permitted in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), a person while in the passenger area of a motor vehicle that is on a public highway of this state or the right-of-way of a public highway of this state may not knowingly:

(I) Use or consume marijuana; or

(II) Have in his or her possession an open marijuana container.

(b) The provisions of this subsection (2) shall not apply to:

(I) Passengers, other than the driver or a front seat passenger, located in the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation;

(II) The possession by a passenger, other than the driver or a front seat passenger, of an open marijuana container in the living quarters of a house coach, house trailer, motor home, as defined in section 42-1-102(57), or trailer coach, as defined in section 42-1-102(106);

(III) The possession of an open marijuana container in the area behind the last upright seat of a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk; or

(IV) The possession of an open marijuana container in an area not normally occupied by the driver or a passenger in a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk.

(c) A person who violates the provisions of this subsection (2) commits a class A traffic infraction and shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars and a surcharge of seven dollars and eighty cents as provided in this section and section 42-4-1701(4)(a)(I)(N).

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt or limit the authority of any statutory or home rule town, city, or city and county to adopt ordinances that are no less restrictive than the provisions of this section.



Added by Laws 2013, Ch. 332, § 20, eff. May 28, 2013. Amended by Laws 2014, Ch. 387, § 3, eff. June 6, 2014; Laws 2022, Ch. 421 (S.B. 22-212), § 91, eff. Aug. 10, 2022

 R. S. . § 4241305.5, CO ST § 4241305.5 Current through the Second Regular Session, 73rd General Assembly (2022). Some statute sections may be more current. See credits for details.

Have you gotten a ticket for having an open alcoholic beverage in your vehicle in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?


It’s important to understand that having an open alcoholic beverage in your motor vehicle can harm your driving record and future employment opportunities. A conviction of this infraction requires that the prosecution convince a jury to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To defend yourself against an open alcoholic beverage-related charge, you must understand how the law applies to your case and what the El Paso County District Attorney must prove.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can a passenger drink alcohol in a car in Colorado?

A passenger in a motor vehicle cannot drink while in the vehicle. According to the open container law for Colorado, it is prohibited for a passenger even to possess open containers of alcohol if it has been opened and part of its contents have been removed.

Can you drink in a limo in Colorado?

An exception to Colorado open container laws includes vehicles used to transport customers for compensation. This includes limos, taxis, and buses. However, passengers of the transportation company are subject to the company’s policies regarding the consumption of alcohol by passengers.

Can you drink while sitting in a parked car?

Colorado’s open container laws apply to all vehicles intended for travel on roads in public, regardless of whether the car is physically being driven or in motion. This means that even if you are sitting in a parked vehicle, you will still be in violation of this statute if you have an open container of alcohol.

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