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’s the first I’ve been asked that in my career. 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, drunken driving remains a serious threat on our roads, contributing to 84 deaths in 2018. There were nearly 25,000 motorists arrested for driving while impaired in 2017, and one in seven Minnesota licensed drivers has a DWI on record.

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 drunken driver.

  • Report drunken driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.