With July 1 marking the beginning of the new fiscal year, sweeping policy changes have been made in states throughout the nation. In Georgia, a set of 130 new laws officially went into effect yesterday. Among these many laws come new changes to the ways in which repeat DUI offenders are required to serve terms of their criminal and driver's license penalties.
As part of the legislative changes affecting DUI laws, Georgia will now be joining a number of states in increasing efforts to crack down on those who have been convicted of a multiple DUI offense. Under the new law that went into effect yesterday, repeat DUI offenders will now be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in their vehicle for 12 months. Under old state laws, repeat DUI offenders were only required to have an IID on their vehicle for eight months.
Ignition Interlock Devices are essentially breathalyzers installed in a vehicle. In order to start a vehicle, drivers must first blow into the IID and prove that they do not have any alcohol in their system. If any presence of alcohol is detected on a driver's breath, the vehicle will not start. IIDs are costly to install and remove, and must be routinely calibrated periodically. As such, they present ongoing expenses to convicted offenders and can exacerbate many of the severe financial consequences that come with a DUI conviction.
Under Georgia law, a person can be prosecuted as a repeat DUI offender if they have a prior DUI conviction on their record within 10 years of a new arrest. When facing a multiple DUI offense allegation, you can expect heightened penalties that may include longer terms of imprisonment and larger fines. Additionally, a fourth DUI offense within 10 years is prosecuted as a felony in Georgia, thereby imposing harsher criminal penalties.
Georgia's new DUI laws for repeat offenders illustrate a national trend in harshly penalizing DUI offenders who continue to get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs of alcohol. While all DUI allegations are serious crimes, multiple offenses place more at stake than first-time charges. If you or your loved one is facing a multiple DUI charge – including a second, third, or fourth felony DUI – do not hesitate to secure the experienced representation you need to protect your rights and your future. Speak with an Atlanta DUI lawyer from the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub to learn more about multiple DUI charges and penalties and how our firm can help.