As many states throughout the nation continue to implement new laws and penalties regarding driving under the influence (DUI), Georgia has also established new consequences for convicted individuals. While DUI penalties are already quite severe – with possible terms of imprisonment, hefty fines, probation, and the repercussions of a criminal record – additional punishment can have a significant and negative impact on those who are convicted. The installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), for example, has the potential to create additional strains in the aftermath of a conviction.
Under Georgia law, individuals who are convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense within five years of a previous conviction will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. IIDs will be required for any vehicle operated by the convicted individual for a period of six months, provided that they have fulfilled the terms of their driver's license suspension.
An ignition interlock device is a digital mechanism that is essentially a breathalyzer attached to the ignition of a vehicle. In order to start the automobile, a driver must first blow into the IID. If any amount of alcohol is detected on their breath – or if a certain preset limit is detected – the vehicle will not start. Additionally, drivers must blow periodically into the IID while driving in order to ensure that they do not consume alcohol, leave their vehicle running while consuming alcohol, or have another person blow into the device while they are under the influence of alcohol. If no breath sample is provided, or if there is any registered amount of alcohol, the IID will record the event, which may be used by courts and probation services as reason to impose additional penalties.
IIDs can become an additional source of financial strain, as the costs of installation, maintenance, calibration, and removal are usually paid by the convicted individual. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) provides a list of third-party vendors that lease IIDs to drivers who must install them on their vehicles. Installation fees can be steep, and drivers will also be required to pay for periodic maintenance, often on a monthly basis. Although costs can vary depending on the device and the payment plan used, fees for maintenance and calibration often average $75 dollars a month. At times when fines and various expenses resulting from a DUI conviction may already be a source of struggle, the costs of an IID can create additional burdens.
Although IIDs can be quite costly and burdensome, they do allow multiple DUI offenders to drive their vehicles. Of course, the terms of a driver's license suspension as determined by the DDS must be served in order for a driver to become eligible for the IID. In certain cases, the court may exempt individuals from the IID requirement if they meet financial hardship requirements. At the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, our Atlanta DUI lawyers make it a point to clearly illustrate and explain all of the penalties and repercussions our clients will face should they be convicted. While our goals are to help clients avoid or reduce these penalties, we also know that certain individuals who have already been convicted may require representation when petitioning for an exemption from the IID requirement. As we provide comprehensive legal assistance for all matters relating to a DUI allegation, including criminal cases and driver's license hearings, you can be confident that when you choose to work with our firm, all aspects of your case will be handled by experienced and proven DUI defense attorneys. Contact the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub for more information.