True or False: It Is Illegal to Take Alcohol Across State Lines

True or False: It Is Illegal to Take Alcohol Across State Lines

Red wine bottles packed in a wooden box shot rustic wooden tableIt is not uncommon for there to be rumors about legal and illegal activities in California and throughout the country. One rumor we have heard more than once is that it is illegal to carry alcohol across the state lines. There are a number of reasons that you may want to, from taking a trip and wanting to bring some alcohol with you, to sharing your new favorite beer with someone who lives over state lines.

The question is: Does bringing alcohol across state lines mean committing a federal crime? The answer is that it depends on the state you are going to. Keep reading to learn more about this unique situation. If you need to talk to a criminal defense attorney, contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at 909-920-0908.

Laws Vary State by State

It is generally not against the law to bring alcohol into a state. However, there are a few exceptions. In California, you can bring alcohol into the state as long as it is for personal use. Generally speaking, this means you can bring in around 60 liters, or the equivalent of five cases.

In Tennessee, until ten years ago it was a crime to bring in alcohol from other states. As of 2009 the law was overturned and now you can take alcohol into the state for personal use. Pennsylvania also had laws against bringing in alcohol from other states, but those were changed in 2015. However, anyone bringing in alcohol to another state is required to pay Pennsylvania state tax on said alcohol.

What About Dry Counties?

While there are currently no states in the United States in which it is illegal to have alcohol, there are still counties that are considered “dry counties.” This means alcohol cannot be legally bought or sold in them. Is it against the law to bring alcohol into this areas? According to the 21st Amendment of the Constitution, a person could technically be facing both federal and state charges. However, this is rare and is unheard of when a person simply brings in enough for personal use.

There Are Strange Laws Regarding Alcohol in Many States

California has some strange laws regarding alcohol. For example, if you grab a dozen empty bottles of wine, rinse them out, put them in a box, and then put them in your backseat to take them to the recycling center, you could technically be charged with an open container even though there is no alcohol present.

In Colorado, you cannot bring wine into a restaurant. In Utah, you must order food before you can order alcohol in any establishment. In Pennsylvania, you can only buy alcohol in a state store and there are only 600 of them.

Remember that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state. If you are charged with this crime, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You can reach Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at 909-920-0908 now for a free consultation.