2023 Code of Virginia
Title 18.2 - Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 7 - Crimes Involving Health and Safety
§ 18.2-323.1. Drinking while operating a motor vehicle; possession of open container while operating a motor vehicle and presumption; penalty

Universal Citation: VA Code § 18.2-323.1 (2023)

A. It is unlawful for any person to consume an alcoholic beverage while driving a motor vehicle upon a public highway of the Commonwealth.

B. Unless the driver is delivering alcoholic beverages in accordance with the provisions of ยง 4.1-212.1, a rebuttable presumption that the driver has consumed an alcoholic beverage in violation of this section shall be created if (i) an open container is located within the passenger area of the motor vehicle, (ii) the alcoholic beverage in the open container has been at least partially removed, and (iii) the appearance, conduct, odor of alcohol, speech, or other physical characteristic of the driver of the motor vehicle may be reasonably associated with the consumption of an alcoholic beverage.

C. For the purposes of this section:

"Open container" means any vessel containing an alcoholic beverage, except the originally sealed manufacturer's container.

"Passenger area" means the area designed to seat the driver of any motor vehicle, any area within the reach of the driver, including an unlocked glove compartment, and the area designed to seat passengers. "Passenger area" does not include the trunk of any passenger vehicle, the area behind the last upright seat of a passenger van, station wagon, hatchback, sport utility vehicle, or any similar vehicle, the living quarters of a motor home, or the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxi, or limousine, while engaged in the transportation of such persons.

D. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor.

1989, c. 343; 2002, c. 890; 2022, cc. 78, 79.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Virginia may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.