If you have been arrested for drunk driving, the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) could be one of the penalties that you face upon conviction. This device is a breathalyzer (breath) machine that is attached to the steering wheel and the ignition of a vehicle. The driver must blow into the machine in order for the vehicle to start. If the IID detects blood alcohol content, then the car will not turn on. IIDs must be installed, monitored and calibrated at the sole cost of the defendant. In Georgia, if the court orders IID installation, then the IID will have to be installed on all cars owned. Not everyone has to have an IID installed upon DUI conviction. In fact, first-time DUI offenders are not required IID as part of their sentence, although it may be imposed at a Judge's discretion.
According to the Georgia Statutes,
Second and subsequent offenders on probation must install ignition interlock devices on all of the vehicles they own and only operate vehicles equipped with such devices. Use begins when the offender is issued limited driving privileges and must last for at least 8 months.
If habitual offender status is based on two or more drunk-driving offense convictions and the offender is placed on probation, the use of a probationary license is conditioned of the use of an ignition interlock device for 6 months after the probationary license has been issued.
An ignition interlock device limited driving permit shall be restricted to allow the holder thereof to drive solely; to work, to school, regularly scheduled sessions or meetings of treatment support organizations, and monthly monitoring visits with the permit holder's ignition interlock device service provider.
According to the OCGA § 40-5-63 and 40-5-67.2, a person who is convicted of driving under the influence can have their license suspended for up to three years (more for habitual offenders). After serving at least one year of that sentence, the individual can petition for an ignition interlock limited permit. This will allow the individual to drive, but only on their vehicles that are equipped with the device. Georgia Department of Safety requires individuals to have the device installed on all vehicles owned. However, there are some circumstances in which this presents an "undue financial hardship." In this case, the individual may petition to the court and the court can notify DPS of any accepted exemptions.
Those granted an IID permit can only petition for a restoration of their regular license after their IID permit expires. DPS views the expiration of the temporary IID permit as fulfillment of the individual's DUI sentence. However, some individuals may not be able to petition for a restoration of their license if they did not successfully complete the duration of their sentence. If you live in Fulton County, then there are nine different locations where you can find a certified Georgia IID provider.
If you want to avoid having an IID installed in your vehicles, then contact The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson. While our Atlanta DUI attorneys cannot guarantee that we can get your sentences reduced or charges dropped, we have the skills and experience necessary to combat the evidence against you. A DUI arrest does not mean that you are guilty, and our firm can fight to maintain your innocence. To learn more about Georgia's ignition interlock device requirements and how our firm may be able to help you, call now and receive a free consultation.