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New Georgia DUI Laws

• Oct 20th, 2013

New Georgia DUI laws, effective January 1, 2013, aim to improve the quality of life and aid treatment for those arrested for this offense. The new laws include expanded driving permits for first-time offenders and “two in five” offenders.

Senate Bill 236 modifies Article 3, Chapter 5 of Title 40 and Article 7 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). These articles reference punishment for those arrested for DUI and govern ignition interlock devices. Ignition interlock devices prevent offenders from driving under the influence.

People charged with driving under the influence in the state of Georgia automatically face a one-year license suspension. Prior to January 1, 2013, drivers with this type of suspension were only allowed to drive to work, school, the doctor, support group meetings and DUI classes.

Senate Bill 236 modified the laws effecting first-time offenders over 21 years of age, or “first in five years” offenders. They are now eligible for an expanded hardship permit which will allow them to attend court, report to their probation officer, and perform community service. Additionally, drivers on such permits will be allowed to transport immediate family members without licenses to work, school or to receive medical services.

Drivers who have been charged with a DUI twice in the previous five years will see a bit more freedom in their limited permits and a slight reduction of their “hard suspension” times. With the new laws, starting on January 1, these offenders will automatically lose their driving privileges for 120 days. After the initial 120 days of hard suspension they will be granted permission to get an ignition interlock limited permit. In order to qualify for this limited permit the offender must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction program.

  2. Complete a clinical evaluation and enroll in a substance abuse treatment program approved by the Department of Human Services or a drug court program.

  3. Install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they will be driving.

  4. Obtain a certificate of eligibility for an ignition interlock limited driving permit or probationary license from the court that sentenced them.

Drivers with this type of permit will be allowed to drive to work, school, support meetings and monthly appointments with their ignition interlock service provider.

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