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Understanding Georgia’s open container law

On Behalf of | May 2, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

Drunk driving is against the law across all states. However, even if the driver is not drunk, having an open container of alcohol within their reach in a vehicle is illegal in Georgia.

The state’s open container law further makes it illegal for passengers to have alcoholic beverages, with some exceptions. As a driver, here is what you need to know about what is allowed under the law.

Alcoholic products, as defined by law, include beer, ale, stout, wine or any beverage with more than 0.5% of alcohol by volume. It is illegal in an open area of the vehicle if the seal is broken, the container is open or any contents have partially been removed.

It is illegal to have an open container in the passenger area of a vehicle readily accessed by the driver. For instance, having alcohol in an unlocked glove compartment is illegal. However, if it is locked or the alcohol is in the trunk, you are good to go.

What are the penalties?

An open container in the vehicle is an infraction, and you may get two points added to your driver’s license. Remember, if you accumulate 15 or more points in two years, your license will be suspended for one year. An open container violation can also result in a fine of up to $200.

An open container can provide reasonable suspicion to the police that the driver may be drunk, and you may be subject to sobriety tests. This could lead to being charged with DUI.

The stakes are much higher with a DUI charge, and you could get considerable time in jail or steep fines, among other legal penalties. In such a case, getting legal assistance to defend yourself and work to reduce the chances of a conviction is advisable.