In Georgia, having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle is a standard penalty for second and subsequent driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. IIDs are similar to breathalyzers, except they connect to the car’s ignition system. The driver must blow into the device before starting the car. If the IID detects any amount of alcohol, the car will not start.
Newer IID models require the driver to also blow into the device at certain intervals while driving. This idea is to prevent a driver from having a sober friend blow into the IID to help start the car.
Georgia drivers arrested for DUI have the option to request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing or install an IID on their vehicle. However, Georgia drivers that have been arrested for a second DUI within five years are required to install the device for 12 months.
There are two ways a person who is arrested for DUI in Georgia can lose their license:
- Administrative Per Se: If you fail a breathalyzer test or refuse to take one, your license will be confiscated immediately. You will receive a 10-day temporary license from the arresting officer. During this period, you can request a hearing to challenge your suspension. If you do not request this hearing, or if your challenge is unsuccessful, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.
- Judicial: This occurs when a Georgia court sentences you after a trial or plea agreement. Penalties include license suspension, jail time, and community service hours. Even if you are not convicted in the court of a DUI offense, your administrative suspension can still be in effect.
A driver who refuses a sobriety test or yields a BAC over the legal limit of .08 percent can choose to put an interlock ignition device on their vehicle. This is called a voluntary interlock. This voluntary interlock takes place before the case ever goes to court.
They must keep the device on their car for at least 12 months regardless of whether the case is dismissed, they are found not guilty, or the charge is reduced to reckless driving.
In cases where a driver refuses a sobriety test, and there is an automatic license suspension, an IID installation can allow them to drive for 12 months instead of losing their driver’s license for 12 months.
A driver convicted of DUI may also be required to receive clinical treatments or attend diversion and risk reduction programs as well.
Second DUI Convictions
If a person is arrested for a second DUI offense within five years of the first, they automatically receive a 120-day license suspension. After 120 days, they must have an IID installed on their vehicle for 12 months. They may be able to get a work-driving permit instead of losing all driving privileges with the IID.
Georgia has strict laws about tampering with an IID, as follows:
a) It is unlawful for any person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111 to request or solicit any other person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing the person so restricted with an operable motor vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111.
(c) It is unlawful to tamper with, or circumvent the operation of, an ignition interlock device.
Consequences of Tampering with an IID
If a person is convicted of tampering with an IID, they will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. In most cases, a judge will require someone on probation who is caught tampering with an IID to finish their sentence in jail instead of at home. Another possible outcome is that the judge will extend how long the IID will need to remain on the vehicle. It is simply not worth tampering with an IID. And, if a friend who blows into the IID so you can start your vehicle is caught, they will face penalties as well.
What if an IID Registers Alcohol on my Breath?
Every person on probation for DUI is prohibited from consuming any alcohol. The IID does not measure blood alcohol level – it detects any amount of alcohol.
The driver’s probation officer has access to every sample provided on the IID. This record is printed out or downloaded for the probation officer’s review every 30 days in Georgia by law.
As noted previously, newer IIDs require a breath sample while driving to ensure that the person that provided the breath sample to start the car is the person still driving it. The device will log attempts to circumvent blowing into the device to start the car. These results will also be forwarded to the driver’s probation officer.
If the driver fails to provide a sample or tests positive for alcohol, the probation officer will likely file a petition to revoke some or all of their probation. A warrant will then be issued for their arrest, and they will be held until the hearing. Hearings can take up to 30 days, so the person will remain in jail until the hearing.
Can an Ignition Interlock Device be Wrong?
An IID rarely will report a false positive, but it can happen. An IID cannot tell the difference between isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol, called ethanol, is created when fruits or grains are fermented to produce alcoholic drinks. It is present in beer, wine, and liquor. Isopropyl alcohol is found in mouthwash, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and gels. If your vehicle has an IID, avoid consuming any food, mouthwash, or beverage for at least 20 minutes before blowing into it to get an accurate reading.
What are the Costs Associated with an IID?
If you must install an IID on your vehicle or choose to install one to avoid license suspension, there are fees to be aware of. Generally, you can count on a $100-$200 installation charge and monthly fees ranging from $70-$100. There are also costs for maintenance, calibration, and device removal.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me After a DUI Arrest?
It can be beneficial to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a DUI arrest. They can assist you in many ways, including helping you to decide whether to install an IID on your vehicle or appeal to the Department of Drivers’ Services. They can also help you fight the charge if that makes the best sense for your situation. Many times, a lawyer can get a DUI charge reduced or possibly even thrown out.
Impaired driving arrests are not always a slam dunk for law enforcement. There are many circumstances surrounding arrests that a lawyer can analyze. There could be improper processes and procedures or extenuating circumstances. Let a lawyer help reduce the charges or get them thrown out. An impaired driving charge is a social stigma and not a good thing to have on your record when seeking employment. It is wise to hire an experienced lawyer who can help fight the charges.
The Springfield DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Defend Against DUI Charges
Not every DUI case is as cut-and-dried as it may seem. Our skilled Springfield DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help. Contact us for a free consultation by calling us at 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form. We proudly serve residents in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas from our office in Springfield, Georgia.