It's football season. That means it's tailgating season.
Tailgate parties are one of the few times it's socially acceptable to drink in a parking lot. However, it's important to keep it together and stay on the right side of the law.
Below, we've included a few tips to help you avoid ending up in the drunk tank while your friends are in the stands.
Drunk in Public
There's a thin line between legal tailgating and breaking the state's public intoxication law. If you're a mean, obnoxious, or particularly loud drunk, you should probably limit yourself to a drink or two. That's because you can be arrested for public intoxication if your drunken state causes you to be "vulgar, profane, loud, or [use] unbecoming language." Remember to keep an eye on your drinking, keep the profanity to a minimum, and be civil with others no matter what team they're rooting for.
The party shouldn't start until you've pulled into a parking space. A beer on the way to the stadium could prove costly. Under Georgia's open container law, it's illegal to have an unsealed container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. That doesn't just go for the driver, but for passengers as well. If you're cited in Atlanta for an open container violation, you could be fined up to $200.
If you were drinking during the game or if you're still drunk from tailgating, don't drive home. If you don't have a designated driver, you should call a taxi. Cab fare is small change compared to DUI penalties. Under Georgia law, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher will get you a DUI charge. If it's your first offense, you could face jail time, a fine of up to $1,000, at least 40 hours of community service, and be required to complete an alcohol risk reduction program. Not worth it.
Remember to be smart about your drinking and know your limit at your next tailgate party. Have fun and stay safe.
- Find an Atlanta DUI Lawyer (FindLaw)
- DUI Offense Basics (FindLaw)
- Open Container Law (FindLaw)
- Former Atlanta Falcon Ray Buchanan Arrested for DUI (FindLaw's Atlanta DUI Law Blog)