Can you be charged with a violation of the "Texas Open Container" law even if you are not drinking from the container in question? After all, the peace officers are always telling us to have a designated driver when out partying.

The answer to that is yes. The law on open containers refers to a bottle, can, mug, thermos, or any other receptacle that can contain alcohol that has some of its content removed and is in the "passenger compartment" of the vehicle.

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Adding to that, the description of the passenger compartment area of the motor vehicle  includes all the space designed for seating, from the operator to its passengers, and if the vehicle is on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated, stopped, or parked.

The Texas Penal Code Section 49.031 clearly defines that possession of one or more open containers in a single criminal episode constitutes a single offense. Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Marc Crouch told me that if it's obvious the operator of the vehicle is the "designated driver" no infraction will be charged.

As for a drug possession issue, if an officer of the law pulls you over and there is a bag of illegal drugs in the console and the peace officer asks who it is and no one in the vehicle claims to be the possessor, everyone in the vehicle will be charged with possession of an illegal substance.

Possession of an open container of alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle is considered a Class-C misdemeanor. However, possession of illegal substances depending on the circumstances can go from being a misdemeanor to a felony.

But my question is, if the vehicle I am in belongs to, say, an Uber driver, and that driver has illegal substance in the vehicle and doesn't claim it, am I going to be charged as well? My law enforcement friends all say the officer who made the stop will make that call.

It also depends on if you're in the backseat and/or within arms-length of the substance. Like I tell our kids, "Be careful and know your surroundings at all times."

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LOOK: Best Beers From Every State

To find the best beer in each state and Washington D.C., Stacker analyzed January 2020 data from BeerAdvocate, a website that gathers user scores for beer in real-time. BeerAdvocate makes its determinations by compiling consumer ratings for all 50 states and Washington D.C. and applying a weighted rank to each. The weighted rank pulls the beer toward the list's average based on the number of ratings it has and aims to allow lesser-known beers to increase in rank. Only beers with at least 10 rankings to be considered; we took it a step further to only include beers with at least 100 user rankings in our gallery. Keep reading to find out what the best beer is in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C.

Gallery Credit: Angela Underwood

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