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Open liquor bottle in your motorhome?
Russ and Tina DeMaris

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A man's home is his castle, so says English law. Since an RV for many is a home, does that mean your RV is your castle? There's a question for the courts, the legal experts, and the 'rights of privacy' groups to thrash out. But here's a related question that can trip up an RVer in a hurry: Is it OK to have an "open container" of alcohol in your motorhome while traveling down America's byways?

A frequent comment made by the fireside, and in some places on Internet RV chat rooms is, "Sure, no problem!" In some places you'd be right--and in others--legally wrong. Here's the scoop:

Open container laws are generally written to keep a driver from having too easy an access to liquor while keeping his vehicle safely on the road. And those laws are not a federal mandate, but a state's rights matter. Hence, making a blanket statement could lead to a traffic ticket--and some of them are pretty steep indeed.

In California, a passenger in a motorhome in possession of an open alcohol container is not a problem; neither is the situation like this "citation-able" in Maine, nor Montana. It gets trickier in Florida--how big is your motorhome? If you've got a 20'foot motorhome, an open container is a violation. And Wisconsin? It may seem cheesy to some, but no open containers in any RV.

Bottom line: If having an open container of alcohol while on the road is important to you, you're highly advised to check out the laws of any state you plan on RVing through before you get there.

Do you have any special knowledge or experience regarding open liquor containers in your RV? If so, would you please share it in the RVtravel.com forum?



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