Think twice about driving with an open container of non-alcoholic beer

Dear Street Smarts, Q: We're wondering how the law considers 'non-alcoholic', or .05-percent, beer? Is an open container of this beverage in a vehicle considered an open ‘alcohol’ container? Thanks, Cristie Thomas, via email A: Don't chance it. Simply having the opened container of "near-beer" in an automobile will cause pause among law enforcement officers who want to make sure you're not driving drunk, said the California Highway Patrol's Sam Courtney. According to the Business and Professions Code section 23004, an alcoholic beverage is defined as a drink containing one-half of 1-percent or more of alcohol by volume. Spirits, wine, beer, as well as alcoholic drinks that have been diluted, are mixed or combined with other substances fall under this category. “Remember, beverage containers must show that the drink is less than the aforementioned limit,” said Courtney. Though, he pointed out that “it's not uncommon for officers to encounter beverages poured into different containers.”
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