Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
Can you get an open container in Colorado while walking?
Walking with open containers of alcohol is usually illegal throughout Colorado, but there are exceptions. Local laws rather than state law largely determine where and what people may drink in public places. Meanwhile, it is always illegal to walk with an open marijuana container in Colorado.
Open consumption of alcohol is where people may freely walk while drinking. Examples of where open alcohol consumption is generally legal are New Orleans, Louisiana, Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, Savannah, Georgia, and the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada (with certain restrictions). In contrast, open public consumption is usually illegal in Colorado.
However, in 2011, the Colorado General Assembly passed SB 11-273. This permitted local governments to license and regulate common consumption areas called an entertainment district.
Within this limited common area, patrons may walk with open alcohol containers and not have to dump them when leaving a particular bar or tavern. But once they leave the boundaries of the entertainment district, they can no longer have an open alcoholic beverage container.1
In 2019, Denver passed a common consumption ordinance. But the city is still in the process of planning how to enforce public drinking. However, people currently may consume 3.2 beer in city parks.2
Currently, there is a common consumption area in Stanley Marketplace. There is a common outdoor patio where patrons can engage in alcohol consumption together, even if they bought the drinks from different establishments. Each bar gives patrons disposable cups to hold their drinks when they leave the premises with the name of the bar written on the cup.3
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A temporary common consumption zone has been designated along South Broadway between East Eastman Ave. and East Hampden Ave. And the city has imposed the following rules:
Colorado’s open container laws under CRS 42-4-1305 prohibit anyone in the passenger area of a motor vehicle to have an alcohol or marijuana container with a broken seal. (The passenger area extends to the glove compartment as well.) It does not matter whether the driver is unimpaired or safely parked on a public road or public parking lot.
Open container violations are prosecuted as a class A traffic infraction. The penalties include a fine of $50 and a surcharge of $16. But drivers may also face a DUI arrest if they seem under the influence.5
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.
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