Not every state has an open container law. In Tennessee, open container laws only apply to the driver. Driver's can have a beer while driving, but the passengers can. However, in Georgia, no one can have an open container of alcohol in the car. If you get busted for an open container, you'll get points on your record, and have to pay a fine. But the real problem is that the cops may use an open container as a justification for arresting you for driving under the influence, even if you're not intoxicated.
Georgia's open container laws, (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-253) is like most state's open container laws. This is because some federal funding is tied to having an open container law. Specifically, it prohibits open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. This applies to anyone who has the open container, or if there are no passengers in the car, any open container is considered in possession of the driver. “Alcoholic beverage” refers to are any alcohol over 0.05 percent alcohol, barely over an O'Doul's or other non-alcoholic beers. If any of the contents of the bottle or can or container is removed, or if the seal is broken, it is considered an open container.
The only places you can keep an open container are in the trunk, or in a locked glove box. Anywhere accessible by the passenger or driver is considered the passenger area, including an unlocked glove box. There are a few exceptions to the rule. Passengers in a taxi cab, limo or party bus can consume alcohol, as long as their company policy allows it. Passengers in the living area of a motor home are also exempted from the law.
If you get busted for an open container violation, it can result in a fine of up to $200, and will add 2 points to your driving record. If you get too many points, not only will your insurance premiums go up, but your license may get suspended. But the real problem with an open container is that it alerts the cops to thinking the driver may be drunk.
When the police pull a car over, one of the first things they look for is evidence of alcohol, such as seeing a beer can in the car, or smelling alcohol coming from inside. They will ask the driver about alcohol consumption, and usually ask them to take a breathalyzer or give them an eye test to look for intoxication. Before you do any of these tests, it is important to remember that they are voluntary, and because they are inaccurate, they may do you more harm than good.
Georgia Open Container Law Defense
If you get pulled over, and just get an open container violation, the penalties aren't that severe. However, if it leads to a DUI arrest, then the consequences are much greater. You could lose your license, and end up with a criminal record. The good news is that there are lots of ways to fight a DUI charge. Just because you were arrested doesn't mean you should be convicted. Don't delay, and call my office today and I will fight to keep your record clean, and keep your driver's license.