I am often the designated driver because I don’t drink. Can I get in trouble if my passenger has an open beer?
We see this question often. Georgia is very serious about drinking and driving. Although being a designated driver is appreciated, do not make the mistake of allowing your passengers to bring their opened alcoholic beverages into your vehicle, even if empty. Georgia has an open container law. This law is strict and does not allow for open containers of alcoholic beverages even in the passenger areas of the vehicle. This includes
Open Container Law
Georgia’s open container law defines open as “open or broken seal” where the contents are partially removed. Even an empty bottle with a small amount in your back floorboard is enough under the law.
Let’s imagine you are at a party. Your buddy has had too much to drink so you agree to take his keys and get him home safely. You are having issues getting him to leave the party but the party is officially over. He brings his drink along for the ride against your wishes but you are more concerned at this point with getting him home.
As you pull onto the highway, you notice blue lights behind you. You weren’t doing anything illegal and have not been drinking. You ask your friend to keep his cool because the police are pulling you over. As you hand your license and registration to the officer, he sees the open container, smells the contents, sees your friend and you are cited with violating the open container law.
This can also create a host of other issues. You may open yourself up for your own sobriety test so that the officer can ensure you are safe to drive. It’s best to make sure nobody brings any open containers of alcohol into your vehicle or any vehicle while you are operating it.
If you find yourself in this, or a similar situation, contact Ty.