Georgia’s impaired driving laws inflict serious penalties for those operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating agents. A first offense DUI can carry penalties as high as a fine of $1,000 and jail time of up to one year, while additional convictions come with a suspension of driving privileges for at least three years.
Drivers with an open alcohol container face less stringent penalties.
A summary of the Open Container law
The Georgia Governer’s Office of Highway Safety states that the law prohibits the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. This is true whether the vehicle is on the roadway or the shoulder of a public highway. The person who has the open container is the one who will face charges; passengers in the same vehicle who do not have an open alcohol container should not face charges.
Violators of this statute face a maximum penalty of a fine of $200. Exceptions to the law include passengers who ride in the passenger section of a taxi service or individuals in the living quarters of a mobile home or trailer.
Additional consequences of an Open Container violation
The Georgia Department of Driver Services provides information on the Georgia Point system for traffic violations. In addition to a fine, the conviction for an open container of alcohol carries a penalty of two points. Because points accrue over a two-year period, this could negatively impact a driver. A driver with 15 points in this time period will face a suspension of driving privileges. Also, any impaired driving offense has the potential to raise insurance premiums.