Can You Have Open Alcohol in an RV?


open alcohol rv lg

RVs are vehicles, but they’re also very different than cars, especially motorhomes where you can ride in the back while someone drives. But can you have open alcohol in an RV?

I researched it, and here’s what I found:

In all states, the driver cannot have open alcohol in an RV motorhome. But some states allow passengers to drink if they are in the living quarters and not sitting near the driver. Open containers of alcohol would generally be allowed in a kitchen pantry area.

But there’s a lot more to know. Read on.

In this article, we’ll explore if it’s okay for passengers to drink alcohol in a moving RV and whether you can drink while it is parked. But we’ll also check out whether you can carry open containers of alcohol in an RV. And we’ll look at the laws state by state.

Let’s get started.

Can passengers drink alcohol in an RV while moving?

In most states, any open container of alcohol in a moving RV is considered an illegal open container. Even though it is also used as a dwelling, an RV is a vehicle, and drinking alcohol in a moving vehicle is illegal in many, but not all, states.

Now, some states are more lenient than others.

In some states, passengers can drink. In some, they can drink if they are in the living quarters of the RV. So, you want to know what the law says before you hit the road.

It may not be illegal in your state or the state you’re driving to or through, but you don’t want to have a suspicious cop questioning you.

Seeing as it’s illegal in a lot of states, be on the safe side, keep your drinks locked up until you’ve reached your destination, and have the RV parked. Then, you and your passengers can put your feet up.

And if you’ll be staying at a campground, their regulations supersede any state laws because they are privately-owned properties. Some campgrounds allow alcohol, while others don’t, and there are those that only allow certain types of alcohol.

By the way, can you park your RV in a parking lot?

This is the theme of a recent article. In it, I looked at whether it’s okay to park your RV anywhere and if paid parking lots allow RV parking. But I also revealed whether paid parking lots charge more for RVs.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you drink in a Class A, B, or C RV while parked?

As a general rule, it is legal to drink alcohol in a Class A, B, or C RV while it is parked in a designated campsite. However, it may not be legal if the RV is simply parked on the street or in a parking lot.

Of course, you and those drinking with you should be of age, and alcohol consumption should be allowed where you are parked.

There is no law that states that you cannot drink when the RV has been parked. If the criteria stated above are met, you and those with you are free to drink responsibly.

They’re worth restating:

  • The state you’re in allows alcohol consumption
  • The RV is parked in a legal place
  • You and those with you are 21+
  • If it’s a campground or any other public place, alcohol consumption is allowed at such a place

What if you’re sleeping in your RV, can you get a DUI?

This is the theme of a recent article where I looked at whether it’s legal to drink while in an RV and if you can get a DUI for sleeping in an RV parked in a bar’s parking lot. But I also explored if you can get a DUI for sleeping in an RV parked on the street.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you carry open containers of alcohol in an RV?

In most states, it is illegal to have an open or partially empty alcoholic beverage that the driver or the passengers have access to. But previously opened bottles of wine or liquor can be stored in a kitchen pantry or cabinet. Open alcohol can always be stored in a towed motorhome as passengers cannot ride in a towed RV.

Basically, most state laws want to ensure the driver of a motorhome can’t have a partially empty drink within easy reach, even if you’re not drinking it at the time. It’s better covered and stored away in a place the driver or other passengers can’t have access to. You don’t want to arouse the suspicion of a police officer, right?

But there are states, such as Alaska, California, and Connecticut that allow passengers (not the driver) to consume alcohol while the RV is in motion.

In Florida, the size of your RV is one of the factors that are pertinent in determining if passengers can crack open a bottle while you drive.

So, it’s vital to know the law in the state you reside in and the one you’ll be going to. In the next section, we’ll check out what the law says about this issue in a few states.

Thinking of living full-time in an RV?

Before you sell everything you own and say goodbye to city life, you’ll agree it’s smart to find out the pros and cons of living full-time in an RV.

That’s what a recent article of mine is about. In it, I shared the pros and cons, looked at whether RVs are ideal for long-time living and what it’s like to live in an RV full-time. I even revealed whether it’s legal to live in an RV.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do alcohol laws for RVs vary by state?

Yes, alcohol laws for RVs vary by state. A common rule is that the driver cannot drive and drink at the same time. But some states allow passengers to drink while others do not. And there are states that allow passengers if they are not sitting in the front with the driver.

The below table shows what the law says in a few key states:

States Alcohol Laws as it Pertains to RVs
Texas It is legal to drink as long as you’re in the living quarters of your RV. The living quarters of a motorized house coach or motorized house trailer, including a self-contained camper, a motor home, or a recreational vehicle are not included in the law against open containers of alcohol in vehicles.
Illinois It is illegal for any driver to transport, carry, possess, or have any open alcohol container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle upon a highway.
Montana It is legal to drink as long as you’re in the living quarters of your RV.
California Passengers are allowed to drink provided that they are 21 or over and have no legal alcohol restrictions.
Minnesota No person may legally consume alcoholic beverages whether they are the driver or passenger, regardless of where they are in the motor home while on a public road.
Michigan The law prohibits both drivers and passengers from transporting or possessing an open container of alcoholic liquor in an RV.
Ohio The law prohibits both drivers and passengers from consuming alcoholic liquor in an RV. This prohibition applies when an RV is being operated or is stationary on any street, highway, or other public or private property that is open to the public for vehicle travel or parking.
Can Passengers Drink in a Moving RV?

Conclusion

In the article, we explored if it’s okay for passengers to drink alcohol in a moving RV and whether you can drink while it is parked.

But we also checked out whether you can carry open containers of alcohol in an RV. Then, we looked at the alcohol laws of a few states, as it relates to RVs.


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell travels on and off with his 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. He writes extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

Top Related Posts