Nevada’s “Open Container” Law

Nevada law forbids anyone from drinking an alcoholic beverage while they are driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. NRS 484.448. In addition, it is unlawful for anyone to have an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of a motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is being driven. This statute is separate and apart from Nevada’s impaired driving laws.

Driving is a privilege that the State of Nevada may regulate. See McCharles v. State, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 99 Nev. 831, 673 P.2d 488 (1983). If a person violates any state driving laws, his driver’s license may be suspended, revoked, or canceled. See generally NRS chapter 483; see also Yohey v. State, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 103 Nev. 584, 747 P.2d 238 (1987).

Under Nevada’s Illegal Per Se law, if chemical tests show an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or above (0.04 percent for commercial licensees) or a certain concentration of a prohibited substance, the State of Nevada will revoke the offender’s drivers license, assess a fine, and impose a sentence, with increased penalties for prior convictions. NOTE: A person can be arrested and convicted of DUI, even with less than a 0.08 percent alcohol concentration, with sufficient evidence that the person was under the influence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance (includes prescription and over-the-counter medications). See generally NRS 484C.110 et seq.

Additionally, under Nevada’s Zero Tolerance law, if a driver under the age of 21 has 0.02 or more but less than 0.08 percent alcohol concentration, the State of Nevada will suspend the driver’s license for 90 days. NRS 483.461.