Question: I was in Atlanta for a wedding and got arrested for DUI. I knew the groom since our Emory University days and I actually dated the bride for 2 years. After the wedding I went out by myself for a few drinks. I went to Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, The Cheetah and finally to the St. Regis Atlanta Hotel where I hit the bar. I was staying at the St. Regis. The problem started when I couldn't sleep and went out for just one more drink at about 4:00 a.m.
I got stopped by an Atlanta Police Officer for DUI. He said he could smell alcohol on me. He arrested me for drunk driving and took me to jail. He gave me a ticket for an open container of alcohol but I really just had a cup of beer from The Cheetah not any real booze.
Is a cup with a little beer in it really an open container? He asked me what was in it and I said SweetWater beer. Now I have to go to court at the Atlanta Municipal Court for this DUI.
Answer: Yes, a cup with beer in it is considered an open container. An open container charge is a separate charge from the DUI. The open container, in this case the cup of beer, can also be used by the prosecution for establishing a DUI case. We have seen all manner of containers, including cups, flasks, bottles, so-called “beer bongs” and other drinking devices. Prosecutors try to make much of these.
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