Driving Under the Influence (DUI): New Law in Georgia

Senate Bill 236, which was signed into law on April 16, 2012, has now gone into effect as of January 1, 2013, for the state of Georgia. The Senate Bill 236 makes important and sweeping changes, for driver’s convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) a second time within five years, in violation of code O.C.G.A. 40-6-39.

The new law permits a limited driving permit after 120 days of “hard suspension” in which the driver is not allowed to obtain any type of permit. The new law also allows for only certain types of driving to include: going to his or her place of employment, receiving scheduled medical care or obtaining prescription drugs, attending a college or school where he or she is a regular student, attending scheduled counseling sessions for drug and/or alcohol addictive persons as organized by the commissioner, attending court ordered driver education, improvement school, or alcohol and/or drug programs from the court entering the guilty conviction, resulting in the suspension of the driver’s license, attending court as required, reporting to a probation officer as required, performing community service or transporting an immediate family member who does not carry a valid driver’s license to work, school, medical care or to obtain prescription medicines.

Following this 120 days of “hard suspension”, the driver can be issued, at the court’s discretion an ignition interlock permit. However, the defendant must be enrolled in a drug program through the court or within a clinical treatment program, in order to apply for the ignition interlock permit. The driver having the suspended license must also have a written court order before application for the permit can be accepted. Also, a driver who has been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) a second time within five years, 120 days before January 1, 2013, will be able to obtain the ignition interlock permit on January 1, 2013, or soon after if on a holiday.

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