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Carrying open liquor in car

Does anyone know if you can carry an opened bottle of liquor in a car in Spain?

I realize you can’t drink while driving. But can you transport a bottle that has been opened?

Posted by
5287 posts

I guess I can not cite a legal passage, but generally speaking, the concept of an "Open Container" is uniquely American (well maybe our friends in Canada have similar) especially the idea of a bottle of liquor, opened but resealed, out of reach, in a car being an issue.

It used to be quite common to buy wine in bulk, bringing your own jugs and containers, so the idea of unsealed containers is quite common. I would not be concerned, maybe don't have it in the cup holder next to you.

Posted by
145 posts

We find it quite funny when we see US movies and bottles are drunk enveloped in a brown bag...don´t really understand why. Yes, you can carry bottles of whatever opened in a car, you only have to be sober when driving, that is, under the legal limit. Spain has a very liberal attitute towards alcohol, which does not mean it´s not controlled, but it´s more a social thing than a drinking issue. You´ll see hundreds of bars in cities, open doors, families inside, kids inside (legal age is 18), more a meeting place to socialize for friends and families than places to drink.

Posted by
1251 posts

Spain - and its regions - have some pretty peculiar laws, but so far as I know banning opened containers of alcohol in a car isn't amongst them. That would just be weird!

Posted by
8889 posts

AFAIK that law is a US peculiarity, like being allowed to turn right on red and overtaking on the wrong side. I have never heard of it in any other country.
And it is normal for wineries to sell wine "loose", bring your own container and fill from the barrel. Same in France and Germany. That's wine and not spirits, but the container is still "open".

BTW, I am never quite sure whether the US word "Liquor" is just spirits, or wine and beer as well?

Posted by
4363 posts

and overtaking on the wrong side.

How else do you overtake without going on the wrong side? Or are you referring to undertaking on the motorway? If so then yes, it is illegal in Spain.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for your replies everyone. All very helpful.

Fay

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, I was talking about "undertaking", i.e. on the left in the UK, or on the right in Spain, France, Germany and other countries. AFAIK illegal in all of them.
I am wondering what travel plans Fay has, that she plans to carry opened alcohol in the car ☺

Posted by
4363 posts

Undertaking is not illegal in the UK. It can be considered careless driving if the manoeuvre is considered dangerous but that requires the observation and opinion of a police officer, a rare sight on the UK's roads.

Posted by
370 posts

Reminds me of an incident involving one of my students from around six or seven years ago. He was a medical researcher, working at Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, and one of his regular tasks was to collect rabbit blood samples from a hospital in Sant Boi, a couple of miles out of the city, and drive them back to Clínic. The rabbit blood was decanted into polythene containers and then placed into a polystyrene crate which was placed in the trunk of his car.
One day, while driving back into the city he pulled up at some lights and someone rammed into the back of his car. He was uninjured, apart from whiplash, but pretty shook up. The other driver bolted — leaving him stranded at the lights. The trunk had sprung open and there was blood spattered everywhere around the crumpled rear end of his vehicle. Police arrive. They approach from behind — and view the scene — all they see is blood — gallons of blood — flecked with blood soaked polystyrene and shards of blood stained polythene. At first look the mix of blood and shattered bits of polystyrene and polythene could appear to be bone and body tissue. The student is stood by the side of the car, rubbing his left shoulder and neck with his right hand.The police approach him very, very cautiously. One of the cops pulls his gun. The other cop is calling for backup. My student, in obvious pain and discomfort, cannot put both hands in the air as ordered by the cops; he cannot lift his left hand higher than his shoulder — the pain is excruciating. The student is frozen — his left hand level with his shoulder, and his right arm extended as high as he can reach, almost forming a fascist salute. One of the cops decides he’s a far-right terrorist and he’s taunting them. He’s ordered to maintain his position as one cop keeps his gun trained on him and the other cop is taping off the road.
“Where’s the body?” A cop asks him. “There is no body,“ the student calls. “It’s rabbit blood.” The cops decide he’s being gnomic or somehow provoking them. “Rabbit blood”, he calls again. He begins to explain that he works for Hospital Clínic and that he’s transporting rabbit blood. The cops, convinced that he’s taunting them, tell him to shut-up. Miquel, the student, maintains his pose for ten minutes or so during which time three more police cars, and a detachment of heavily armed and protected anti-disturbance police arrive.
While keeping three or four automatic rifles trained on him the police huddle and decide on tactics. All Miquel wants to do is put his arms down and sit down. No-one, so far, has ordered him to lay down. Then, finally, as the armed posse form a tight circle around his car, a voice asks him to shout his DNI — his identity number — and usually the very first piece of information Spanish/Catalan police demand. He calls it. A crackle of calls, a nodding of heads, and with only one rifle still trained on him, an officer approaches him. He motions for Miquel to lower his arms but keep his hands away from his trouser pockets.
As another officer gently guides him to a police car he says to Miquel, “You shouldn’t be doing this at all, never. Doesn’t the hospital have trusted couriers? But if you absolutely need to, get stronger bottles, tougher cases and tighter caps.”
Enjoy your visit.

Posted by
4363 posts

But Bill.....did he have an open bottle of liquor in the car?

Posted by
2265 posts

Sounds like a story that was going around when I was back in undertaking school.