Drive-Thru Daiquiris And Open Container Laws in Louisiana
Posted on May 20, 2019 in DUI/DWI
The open container law in Louisiana prohibits car drivers as well as passengers from keeping an alcoholic beverage inside the vehicle in an open container while the vehicle is being driven on a public highway or road.
The law also makes it illegal, not just for the driver, but also any passengers to consume alcohol while they are inside the vehicle and it is in operation.
Exemptions to the Law
Louisiana open container law has certain exemptions as follows:
- Passengers who pay a fare to board a public, contract, or common vehicle.
- Passengers of a courtesy vehicle while it is being used as a courtesy vehicle.
- Passengers inside a motor home (which is at least 21 feet long), while the open container is kept in the vehicle’s trunk. In the absence of a trunk, the open container should be inside a utility box, glove box, or another part of the vehicle is not easily accessible or is normally unoccupied by the driver and the passengers.
- Passengers that are riding on a parade float.
- Passengers of a limousine (privately owned) which is operated by a driver with a Class D commercial license.
Open Container Laws In New Orleans
New Orleans has a rich culture and unique tradition of drinking. People come from all over the world to visit New Orleans and cut loose. A New Orleans municipal ordinance permits the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages in open containers (only plastic containers) in specific districts like the French Quarter.
How are Drive-Thru Daiquiris Legal?
This is a question we hear a lot from tourists visiting New Orleans. For many people, this aspect of the Louisiana open container law is confusing. Louisiana has numerous drive-thru daiquiri shops. A daiquiri contained in a cup is legally permissible inside a moving vehicle, as long as the cup is sealed.
The legal definition of the term “sealed” in this context is:
- The lid is intact.
- No straw is protruding from the cup, whether openly or through the lid.
- The cup’s contents have not been removed, either partially or fully.
Frozen Drinks Are a Special Exception to Louisiana Open Container Law
In Louisiana, like other states, open alcoholic beverage containers are no longer allowed in moving cars.
Then how does a drive-thru daiquiri work? Well, the fine print of the law says that the open container law is not applicable to containers with frozen alcoholic beverage where the lid is intact and no straw is protruding through the lid.
What this means is that the drink must be frozen and the straw should be provided separately. As long as the container has its lid intact, it is technically a “closed” container.
In most cases, daiquiris adhere to the “tape rule.” Most daiquiri shops will put a piece of tape over the straw hold on the lid. If this tape is removed or broken then the drink is considered an open container.
To some legal observers, this appears to be a fine line of the law, and it actually is. However, drive-thru daiquiris are widely popular in Louisiana, which ensures that this fine line remains unchallenged.
The Bottom Line
The laws related to drunk driving are as strict in Louisiana as in any other state. The exceptions and the fine lines must not be interpreted wrongly, or you may end up breaking the law. If you are facing a DUI charge in Louisiana, call the experienced New Orleans DUI attorneys at Bloom Legal. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations.