Ignition Interlock Laws in Georgia
Georgia driving under the influence (DUI) laws require courts to order the installation and maintenance of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for repeat DUI offenders. DUI in the State of Georgia is defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Offenders are responsible for any and all costs associated with the IIDs, including installation, leasing, maintenance and removal. The offender may be eligible for an exemption to the IID requirement. To be considered for an exemption to the IID requirement, the offender must prove to the court that the IID requirement creates a financial hardship. Offenders must obtain IIDs from service providers that are approved by the state.
The IID is a device that is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. The offender submits breath samples into the device. The IID uses the breath alcohol samples to determine the offender’s BAC. If the offender attempts to start a vehicle with a BAC that is above a pre-set limit, the IID prevents the vehicle from starting. At random times while the offender is operating the vehicle, the IID alerts the offender to submit a breath sample. If the “rolling re-test” results in a BAC that is above the pre-set limit, the IID triggers the vehicle’s horn and lights. The IID continues to activate the horn and lights until the offender submits a clean breath sample or turns off the vehicle’s ignition.
The offender must have the IID serviced and calibrated at the frequency specified by the court and the approved service provider. Failure to complete the required service may result in a permanent lockout. During the lockout phase, the IID prevents the vehicle from starting under any circumstance. At the offender’s expense, the vehicle must be towed to the approved service provider to have the lockout phase re-set. Other circumstances, such as a number of failed tests, may cause the IID to initiate a lockout phase.
Second-time DUI offenders in Georgia serve 48 hours to one year of jail time and pay $600 to $1,000 fines. Driving privileges are suspended for a period of three years, and the offender must serve a minimum of 30 days of community service. The IID is required for a period of six months.
For those convicted of third DUI offenses within five years of prior DUI convictions, the mandatory jail sentences are 15 days, and offenders pay $1,000 to $5,000 fines. Driving privileges are revoked for a period of five years. Community service is ordered by the court for a period of 30 days. The offender’s name, address and photo are published in the local newspaper at the offender’s expense. The court orders the seizure of the offender’s license plates, and the ignition interlock device is required for a period of six months.
After serving the mandatory suspension period, the offender may obtain a new driver’s license. The offender must submit to the Georgia Department of Driver Services proof of completing the Georgia DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program, and the offender must pay a $210 fee. For first-time DUI offenses, new licenses may be obtained 120 days after the effective date of the suspension. For all other offenses, new licenses may be obtained 18 months after the effective date of the suspension.