New Changes to Georgia DUI Laws
A bill was signed into Georgia law in the spring of 2016 regarding DUIs. If you haven’t been charged with driving under the influence, you may not be aware of House Bill 205, but it has important information, especially for those charged with DUI for the first time.
According to the HB 205 and a new permit introduced on July 1st, 2017, a person charged with driving under the influence has another option if they have been given an administrative license suspension: an interlock ignition device. It is important to note that a person must qualify for the new program, it is not automatic. The Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit can be a good option for people who commute to work or otherwise rely on their transportation.
If a person is interested in having an interlock ignition device installed in their vehicle following a DUI arrest, they must apply for the permit within 30 days of being serviced with the DS-1205 form from either the arresting officer or the Department of Driver Services. They will opt out of the appellate process, and have no right to appeal the suspension. However, they will be able to drive in a limited capacity during a specified timeframe.
To qualify for the Interlock Ignition, a driver must be licensed through the state of Georgia and not have any other suspensions, revocations or cancellations on that license. If the license is a CDL, the driver must downgrade to a typical driver’s license. The driver cannot have any DUI convictions in the past five years or an accident that resulted in a serious injury by vehicle or fatality.
Once the permit is issued, the person must surrender their driver’s license and pay a $25 fee for the permit.
Maintenance of the Device
Once the permit is issued, the driver must adhere to certain requirements. Those include maintaining the ignition interlock device for a period of four months. If the person is acquitted or the charges are dismissed while the device is installed, it will be removed and the driver’s license reinstated. If the driver refused to submit to a chemical analysis of their breath or blood, they must maintain the device for one year, regardless of acquittal or dismissal.
Once a driver is served with a DS-1205, they have 45 days that they can legally drive with that form. This is an increase from the previously listed 30 days. If the driver wants an administrative hearing following their DUI charge and notice of suspension, they now have 30 days to request it.
There are several factors that should be taken into consideration before determining if this new option is right for a driver. Any person charged with driving under the influence should consult with an attorney before making any decisions. The decision to request an Interlock Ignition or to appeal the pending suspension will likely be based on a number of factors, including:
- Whether you submitted to a chemical test or refused;
- The result of that test;
- Whether there are prior DUI arrests;
- Whether the case is defendable or not;
- The specific police officer in question; and
- Numerous other factors.
If you have been charged with DUI in Atlanta, we are ready to come to your defense. Reach out to our team of experienced DUI attorneys today to schedule a free consultation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your legal options. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm.