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Chapter 17 C     Entire Code
‹ Chapter 17  |  Chapter 17A › Printer Friendly Versions
Chapter 17C  |  Article 17C - 5D
WVC 17 C- CHAPTER 17C. TRAFFIC REGULATIONS AND LAWS OF THE ROAD.
WVC 17 C- 5 D- ARTICLE 5D. OPEN CONTAINER LAWS.

WVC 17 C- 5 D- 1 §17C-5D-1. Purpose.

     The purpose of this article is to avoid the imposition of sanctions against this state and the loss of federal-aid highway construction funds under section 1405(a) of the federal Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty-first Century (23 U.S.C. §154), as amended, which requires states to enact and enforce a law that prohibits the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway or the right-of-way adjacent to a public highway.

WVC 17 C- 5 D- 2 §17C-5D-2. Definitions.

     For the purposes of this article, the words or terms defined in this article have the meanings ascribed to them:

     (a) "Alcoholic beverage" means:

     (1) Alcoholic liquor as defined in section five, article one, chapter sixty of this code; and

     (2) Nonintoxicating beer as defined in section three, article sixteen, chapter eleven of this code.

     (b) "Motor vehicle" means a vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public highways, but does not include a vehicle operated solely on a rail or rails.

     (c) "Open alcoholic beverage container" means any bottle, can or other receptacle that:

     (1) Contains any amount of alcoholic beverage; and

     (2)(A) Is open or has a broken seal; or

     (B) Has had its contents partially removed.

     (d) "Passenger area of a motor vehicle" means the area designed to seat the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in their seating positions. For purposes of this article, the passenger area of a motor vehicle does not include:

     (1) (A) A locked glove compartment; or

     (B) A fixed center console or other similar fixed compartment that is locked;

     (2) In a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk;

     (A) The area behind the last upright seat; or

     (B) An area not normally occupied by the driver or a passenger; or

     (3) In a pickup truck that has no trunk, camper top or separate enclosed area other than the cab of the truck, in the area behind the front seat of the truck in a locked case or container located so as to not be readily accessible to the driver or passengers while in their seating positions.

     (e) "Public highway or right-of-way of a public highway" means the entire width between and immediately adjacent to the boundary lines of every way that is publicly maintained, when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

WVC 17 C- 5 D- 3 §17C-5D-3. Possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of a motor vehicle; exceptions; penalties.

 (a) It is unlawful for the operator or a passenger of a motor vehicle to consume any alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a motor vehicle located on a public highway or right-of-way of a public highway in this state, whether the vehicle is in motion or at rest.

 (b) It is unlawful for the operator or a passenger of a motor vehicle to knowingly possess any open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle that is located on a public highway or right-of-way of a public highway in this state, whether the vehicle is in motion or at rest. Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal occurrence is a single offense.

 (c) The provisions of this section are not applicable to a passenger:

 (1) In the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation including, but not limited to, a bus, taxicab or limousine; or

 (2) In the living quarters of a motorized or nonmotorized house coach, house trailer, motor home or self-contained camper.

 (d) A person who violates the provisions of subsection (a) or (b) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100.

WVC 17 C- 5 D- 4 §17C-5D-4. Procedure on arrest.

     If a person is arrested for an offense under the provisions of this article, unless the provisions of section three, article nineteen of this chapter require that the person arrested be taken immediately before a magistrate for an offense described in that section, the provisions of article nineteen of this chapter regarding the issuance of a traffic citation containing a notice to appear applies.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
The West Virginia Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.


Recent legislation affecting the Code

Citation Year/Session Short Title
§17 C- 17 - 5 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 164
PASSED - Regular Session

sb164 enr  (Uploaded - 04/03/2017)
Relating to traffic regulations and special load limits
§17 C- 1 - 69 - (New Code)
§17 C- 15 - 44 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 173
PASSED - Regular Session

SB173 SUB2 ENR  (Uploaded - 04/05/2017)
Relating generally to autocycles
§17 C- 17 A- 7 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2948
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2948 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 04/21/2017)
Establishing timelines for taking final action on certain permits
§17 C- 15 - 2 - (Amended Code)
§17 C- 15 - 17 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 3053
PASSED - Regular Session

hb3053 ENR  (Uploaded - 04/06/2017)
Relating to motor vehicle lighting
§17 C- 17 - 11 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 3064
PASSED - Regular Session

HB3064 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 04/14/2017)
Allowing vehicles of a size and weight exceeding certain specifications to operate over specified routes
§17 C- 5 A- 2 A - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 1006
PASSED - 1st Special Session

sb1006 enr  (Uploaded - 06/20/2017)
Increasing funding for State Road Fund
§17 C- 12 - 7 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 13
PASSED - Regular Session

SB13 SUB1 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/17/2016)
Increasing penalties for overtaking and passing stopped school buses
§17 C- 16 - 4 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 94
PASSED - Regular Session

SB94 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/10/2016)
Designating State Police Superintendent as administrator and enforcer of motor vehicle inspection program
§17 C- 6 - 1 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 476
PASSED - Regular Session

SB476 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/16/2016)
Relating to driving restrictions in school zones
§17 C- 3 - 7 - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 648
PASSED - Regular Session

SB648 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/10/2016)
Allowing local authorities permit flashing traffic signals during low traffic times
§17 C- 5 - 2 B - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 2665
PASSED - Regular Session

HB2665 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/15/2016)
Relating to participation in Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program
§17 C- 16 - 5 - (Amended Code)
§17 C- 16 - 6 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4662
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4662 SUB ENR  (Uploaded - 03/17/2016)
Permitting the Superintendent of the State Police to collect $3 dollars from the sale of motor vehicle inspection stickers
§17 C- 15 - 19 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4674
PASSED - Regular Session

HB4674 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/07/2016)
Relating to motor vehicle back-up lamps
§17 C- 5 - 2 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4738
PASSED - Regular Session

hb4738 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/23/2016)
Relating to the offense of driving in an impaired state
§17 C- 5 - 2 B - (Amended Code)
SENATE BILL - 1015
PASSED - 1st Special Session

SB1015 ENR  (Uploaded - 06/21/2016)
Relating to participation in Motor Vehicle Alcohol Test and Lock Program
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