Misdemeanors should be taken seriously.
Violating the South Carolina open container law is considered a misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $100 and 30 days in jail.
It’s illegal in South Carolina to have an open container of beer, wine or liquor in a motor vehicle. That doesn’t mean you cannot transport an open bottle of wine or liquor in your car; the alcohol should simply be in the trunk or luggage compartment of your vehicle.
You need someone who will take the time to research the details of your charge inside and out to be able to give you the best advice and representation in court. You can count on me to offer straightforward advice about your situation, while outlining the possible outcomes to help you better understand your case.
Possession of alcohol by a minor is a common charge in Columbia, SC, which is why I have represented countless clients in alcohol-related cases — and why I know what a successful defense entails.
The law requires you to be 21 years old to possess alcohol. While it may not seem like a big deal to be caught with alcohol while underage, police officers believe this is a serious offense and will enforce the law.
There are serious consequences for getting caught and convicted. You can lose your driver’s license in South Carolina if you are a minor convicted of possession of alcohol or convicted of attempting to purchase alcohol with fake identification. If convicted, you also can be fined or imprisoned for up to 30 days. There is a separate charge for possessing fake identification or an altered license. You can be fined or imprisoned for up to thirty days if you are convicted.
South Carolina’s Relevant Laws Pertaining to Alcohol:
SECTION 61-4-60. False information about age.
It is unlawful for a person to whom beer or wine cannot be lawfully sold to knowingly give false information concerning his age for the purpose of purchasing beer or wine. A person who violates the provisions of this section, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
SECTION 61-4-80. Purchase of beer or wine for a person to whom it cannot lawfully be sold.
It is unlawful for a person who purchases beer or wine while on licensed premises to give the beer or wine to a person to whom beer or wine cannot lawfully be sold on the premises. A person who violates this section, upon conviction:
(1) for a first offense, must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than three hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both; and
(2) for a second or subsequent offense, must be fined not less than four hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
SECTION 61-4-110. Open containers in motor vehicle.
It is unlawful for a person to have in his possession, except in the trunk or luggage compartment, beer or wine in an open container in a motor vehicle of any kind while located upon the public highways or highway rights of way of this State. This section must not be construed to prohibit the transporting of beer or wine in a closed container, and this section does not apply to vehicles parked in legal parking places during functions such as sporting events where law enforcement officers are on duty to perform traffic control duties. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days.
For purposes of this section, beer or wine means any beer or wine containing one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume.
SECTION 63-19-2440. Beer and wine purchase, consumption, or possession.
(A) It is unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one to purchase, attempt to purchase, consume, or knowingly possess beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage. Possession is prima facie evidence that it was knowingly possessed. Notwithstanding another provision of law, if the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person is under age twenty-one and has consumed alcohol, the law enforcement officer or the person may request that the person submit to any available alcohol screening test using a device approved by the State Law Enforcement Division. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or must be imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
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