Georgia Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
In Georgia, you buy spirits in retail package stores while grocery stores and convenience stores sell beer and wine. While some restaurants and bars can sell alcohol on Sundays, depending on the township, liquor stores are always closed. Most restaurants and bars are allowed to serve alcohol from 6 a.m. until midnight.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
The legal drinking age in Georgia is 21, as it is in all states, but alcohol can be served in a restaurant or bar at age 18.
Open Container Laws
Previously opened bottles of alcohol must be transported in a vehicle’s trunk where neither the driver nor passengers have access to the alcohol.
Like most states, the maximum BAC (blood-alcohol content) permissible by DUI law in Georgia is .08 percent. Over this level, a driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be proven guilty Georgia DUI based on this confirmed intoxication level alone.
‘Zero tolerance laws’ are intended to keep drivers under the legal drinking age from indulging in the risk of drinking and driving, and therefore there are stricter penalties and limits for underage drivers. A person under the age of 21 is allowed just .02 percent BAC limit by law before being subjected to DUI penalties.
Those drivers with a particularly excessive BAC – .15 percent above the legal limit of .08 percent – incur stricter punishment, as do drivers who refuse to cooperate with chemical testing of breath, blood, or urine to determine intoxication levels. Refusal carries the penalty of a suspended driver’s license for up to one year by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). In addition, for the first DUI offense the mandatory suspension of the driver’s license is one year; for the second offense, three years; for the third offense, five years.
A second DUI conviction in Georgia allows the courts to order an ignition interlock device to be attached to the driver’s car at his or her expense. A fourth DUI conviction allows the courts to confiscate the driver’s vehicle. Alcohol education or treatment/assessment for alcohol abuse can be required for DUI offenders.