Picture it: you’re driving with a few friends, and someone in the back seat cracks open a beer. While this may seem harmless, that open can get you into legal trouble as the driver.
Georgia open container laws have some exceptions that allow for open containers in vehicles. Still, you should be aware of cases where an open alcoholic beverage can create problems.
Understanding Georgia Open Container Laws
What Constitutes an Alcoholic Beverage?
Under Georgia law, an alcoholic beverage is:
A fermented beverage produced from malt or a malt substitute, such as beer, with 0.5% or more alcohol by volume
Wine with at least 0.5% alcohol by volume
Any distilled spirit
What Constitutes an Open Container?
Any bottle, can, or other receptacle holding any amount of alcohol is considered an “open container” if it:
It has a broken seal
It has had its content partially removed
Can Anyone in the Vehicle Have an Open Container?
Open containers are illegal for anyone to have in the vehicle. Drivers cannot have an open alcoholic beverage in their possession or in any area that is easily accessible. This includes the passenger area next to them and diagonally behind them.
What Are The Exceptions to Open Container Laws?
You can have an open container in your car if:
The vehicle is designated for use in transporting alcohol
It is a malt beverage made in a private residence
It is an unfinished bottle of wine from a restaurant with the receipt
It is important to note that if you’re transporting alcohol in your residential vehicle, it must be properly sealed and labeled and locked in a glovebox, trunk, or area behind the driver’s seat.
Can I Get a DUI from Having an Open Container in My Car?
While having an open container in your vehicle is an infraction, if you’re pulled over under suspicion of DUI and have partially or fully empty containers in your car, their presence can be used as evidence to convict you.
Fighting DUI in the Savannah Area
Being charged with a DUI is stressful and can create severe problems outside the courtroom. You need an attorney who listens to you and fights aggressively to protect your freedom and future.