Guide to Laws About Alcohol in Los Angeles

Most of the laws about buying, selling, or drinking alcohol are made and enforced at the state level. See our Guide to Alcohol Laws in California.

Can I drink alcohol in public in Los Angeles?

Laws vary by city, but most cities do NOT allow you to drink alcohol in public, including the city of Los Angeles.1LAMC Ch IV Sec 41.27(c) Also, you cannot drink alcohol Metro bus, train, subway or other vehicle.2Metro Customer Code of Conduct 6-05-110

But in most cities, including Los Angeles, if the drink has less than 0.5% alcohol (such as some kinds of Kombucha drinks), it is not legally considered alcohol and is OK to drink in public.3LAMC Ch IV §41.27(c)

Is it illegal to simply carry alcohol in public in Los Angeles?

It varies by city. In the city of Los Angeles, sealed alcohol is generally OK to carry around. Unsealed or “open containers” are NOT OK in or near a store that sells alcohol,4LA Municipal Code Sec 41.27(d) or on any Metro public transportation such as train, subway, or bus.5Metro Customer Code of Conduct 6-05-110 But other than these, it is generally not strictly illegal to simply possess an open container of alcohol in public.6While Los Angeles Municipal Code Sec 41.27(h) says it is illegal to possess an open container of alcohol in public with the intent to consume it, you can safely ignore this. In 1995 this ordinance was declared a violation of the California Constitution and thus unenforceable under People v. Duran, 43 Cal. App. 4th Supp.1 However, while it’s not technically illegal in LA to carry open containers of alcohol in public, it’s not advisable as it may garner the attention of law enforcement.

Further Information

See state alcohol laws for California, and alcohol laws throughout the U.S.

Exercise Your Rights

See options for getting legal help regarding an alcohol related issue.

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