In Georgia, it is illegal to have an open container within the passenger area of a motor vehicle. The law can be confusing as it requires understanding what an open container is and how officials apply this law.
In addition, the passenger compartment portion of the law may be unclear for some people.
Open container defined
An open container is any container holding an alcoholic beverage. The container is open if it has no seal or a broken seal or if a person has consumed any of its contents. The amount of alcohol in the container is irrelevant. The presence of any alcohol in a container makes it valid as an open container if it meets the other requirements.
Passenger compartment meaning
The passenger compartment of a vehicle is the seating area within the car. It includes the driver’s seat. It also includes any other area where people can legally ride in the vehicle. However, in a motorhome, it does not include the living quarters. It also does not apply to people in a vehicle for hire, such as a limousine.
Application of the law
The person in possession of the open container is liable under the law and will receive the violation. If there is nobody else in the vehicle except the driver, then the driver will have the charge against him or her. The penalty is a fine of up to $200.
Note that this law applies whether the vehicle is driving or not. As long as the car is on the road or the shoulder of the road, individuals are subject to an open container violation.