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Old 03-07-2010, 01:06 AM   #1
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Drinking Alcohol in a Skoolie

Is it legal for passengers to drink in a skoolie while it is in motion? I've heard that as long as there isn't any alcohol within arm's reach of the driver that it is okay. Has anyone found documentation on this subject?
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:19 AM   #2
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Re: Drinking Alcohol in a Skoolie

This is going to depend GREATLY on the state. I can only speak for Minnesota. In this state an RV is subject to all traffic laws while in motion. This means no open bottles. Now obviously you run into some issues since it's not uncommon for a person to have open bottles in a place they're living, even if only temporarily. So the law says you cannot drink in the vehicle (no one can) and that it can't be within reach of the driver. Like I said, it's a gray area. However, as soon as you park your bus it is now a home and searches require a warrant and all the other goodness that comes with a "home." If we ever get castle law in our state I would hope it applies to the bus as well.

All that said...passengers in my bus do drink while it's in motion. We keep things sane though. No one gets close to the driver, and empties are properly cared for. People are only allowed to drink beer because my rule has always been that the bus is 36 feet long and in the time it takes the officer to walk that distance, should we be pulled over, those cans WILL be empty. Being drunk and having an empty can is not illegal. Having a measurable amount of booze in the container is.

169A.35 Open bottle law.

Subdivision 1. Definitions. As used in this section:

(1) "alcoholic beverage" has the meaning given it in section 340A.101, subdivision 2;

(2) "distilled spirits" has the meaning given it in section 340A.101, subdivision 9;

(3) "motor vehicle" does not include motorboats in operation or off-road recreational vehicles;

(4) "possession" means either that the person had actual possession of the bottle or receptacle or that the person consciously exercised dominion and control over the bottle or receptacle; and

(5) "3.2 percent malt liquor" has the meaning given it in section 340A.101, subdivision 19.

Subd. 1a. Alcoholic beverage, distilled spirit, 3.2 malt liquor; determination. For purposes of this section only, when determining whether a beverage is an alcoholic beverage, a distilled spirit, or 3.2 percent malt liquor:

(1) "alcohol by volume" means milliliters of alcohol per 100 milliliters of beverage; and

(2) "alcohol by weight" means grams of alcohol per 100 grams of beverage.

Subd. 2. Drinking and consumption; crime described. It is a crime for a person to drink or consume an alcoholic beverage, distilled spirit, or 3.2 percent malt liquor in a motor vehicle when the vehicle is upon a street or highway.

Subd. 3. Possession; crime described. It is a crime for a person to have in possession, while in a private motor vehicle upon a street or highway, any bottle or receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage, distilled spirit, or 3.2 percent malt liquor that has been opened, or the seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.


Subd. 4. Liability of nonpresent owner; crime described. It is a crime for the owner of any private motor vehicle or the driver, if the owner is not present in the motor vehicle, to keep or allow to be kept in a motor vehicle when the vehicle is upon a street or highway any bottle or receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage, distilled spirit, or 3.2 percent malt liquor that has been opened, or the seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.

Subd. 5. Criminal penalty. A person who violates subdivisions 2 to 4 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Subd. 6. Exceptions. (a) This section does not prohibit the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by passengers in:

(1) a bus that is operated by a motor carrier of passengers, as defined in section 221.011, subdivision 48; or

(2) a vehicle providing limousine service as defined in section 221.84, subdivision 1.

(b) Subdivisions 3 and 4 do not apply to a bottle or receptacle that is in the trunk of the vehicle if it is equipped with a trunk, or that is in another area of the vehicle not normally occupied by the driver and passengers if the vehicle is not equipped with a trunk. However, a utility compartment or glove compartment is deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver and passengers.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:07 PM   #3
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Re: Drinking Alcohol in a Skoolie

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
...having an empty can is not illegal...
I have a cousin in FL who got a ticket (open container) because some folks had tossed their empty beer cans in the back of his pick-up truck. To be on the safe side... I wouldn't let anyone drink while underway. But that's me. I don't drink and David hasn't had a beer in a long time and then it was to finish off a bottle that I had bought to use in a recipe. It was a very good stew!
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:39 AM   #4
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Re: Drinking Alcohol in a Skoolie

Minnesota law specifically outlines limos as exempted. It has nothing to do with the design of the vehicle, but rather with the licensing and operation of it.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:27 AM   #5
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Re: Drinking Alcohol in a Skoolie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Keep in mind Limos aren't "private" vehicles, they are commercial as are the busses that haul people to ball games, casinos, etc.. I'd guess the laws are different between the two.

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They are...when I drove buses & sedans, the passengers could get as blasted as they wanted to as long as no alcohol was in my reach.
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