Question: Is it legal for a person to have an open beer in the car if they hold it out the window while driving?

Answer: That question is a first.

Minnesota state law says "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. "Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel including the shoulder.

To be clear, the answer is no.

Minnesota’s enhanced DWI enforcement and education efforts have been factors in the continued reduction of alcohol-related deaths. Still, drunk driving remains a serious threat on our roads, contributing to 84 deaths in 2018. There were nearly 25,000 motorists arrested for DWI in 2017, and one in seven Minnesota licensed drivers has a DWI on record.

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Commit to a sober ride

  • Plan for a safe ride: Designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
  • Speak up: Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
  • Buckle up: The best defense against a drunk driver.
  • Report drunk driving: Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, write to Trooper Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Follow @MSPPIO_NW on Twitter or email