The Atlanta DUI News Blog

A Guide to Georgia's Open Container Law

You've heard of open container laws. Many states have them, including Georgia.

It's illegal to drive while under the influence. It's also illegal to have an open container of alcohol near you when you are driving.

So what is Georgia's open container law and how does it work?

The enforcement of open container laws changes depending on the locality you live in. While it's a state law, the enforcement of it varies. In Atlanta, for example, you could get nailed with a citation and a fine.

Here's what you need to know about Georgia's open container laws:

  • What's the law say? Open container laws prohibit open containers of alcohol in certain public places and in vehicles. Under this law, both the consumption and the possession of an open alcoholic beverage are prohibited. Furthermore, these laws apply to open containers in the passenger areas of the vehicle and unlocked glove compartments.

  • What's the statute? If you want to look up the law, have a peek at Georgia Code, Section 40-6-253(b). This is in line with the federal law on open containers, which also says that states will get a certain amount of highway funding for sticking to these federal guidelines.

  • Can you fight a citation? If you got your citation in Atlanta, you can go online and pay your fine. But if you plan to fight your citation, the instructions on the ticket should tell you how to appeal. If you do appeal, you will need to have a good story. The story should be factual, not emotional.

The reality is that getting cited for an open container violation is sometimes a lose-lose situation. It's such a minor infraction that fighting it with a lawyer doesn't really help much. It's a headache and not worth the effort. But it does go on your record and can be a slight burden.

So the lesson here, as always, don't get caught with an open container. And don't drink and drive.

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