Georgia law requires that anyone convicted of two DUIs within five years either obtain a ignition interlock financial hardship waiver, or install and maintain an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a minimum period of six months after a conviction. Until recently, anyone convicted had to wait twelve months before applying for an ignition interlock permit. Now, sentencing judges have the authority to issue a permit after a minimum four month suspension if you are enrolled in a DUI court or accepted treatment program. This allows judges the option of allowing someone to have interlock installed earlier, rather than serve a longer "hard" suspension, however, you are still required to pay all fees and costs of interlock monitoring.
While the new law allows for second DUI offenders to obtain an interlock device more quickly than before, it adds nothing for out-of-state drivers who need an interlock device to comply with Georgia law. However, judges still have the power to issue a hardship order to anyone who can show the interlock requirements would be an undue financial hardship. Even if this financial hardship waiver is signed, Georgia DDS will require a minimum of 12 months of "hard" suspension before applying a hardship waiver to your license.
To apply for a ignition interlock financial hardship waiver after the required hard suspension time period has run, you must file a motion in the court where your interlock was ordered as part of your DUI conviction. On a second DUI, this would be the court where you plead to your second DUI- not your first. I have filed many of these interlock motions on behalf of clients and know what arguments to make in order to strengthen the chances of a client being issued a hardship waiver.
After a motion is filed, there are a couple of ways to obtain a signed order by the judge. Depending on the court, the prosecutor may simply agree, or consent to, an interlock waiver. If it's not possible to get the prosecutor's consent, a rule nisi is usually filed to get a hearing date scheduled. Most courts will allow your lawyer to attend the hearing in your place and convey your case to the judge. This is especially helpful if you are out of state, as traveling is, of course, expensive and burdensome.
If you want to discuss my services in representing you before the judge to apply for a financial hardship waiver, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you a more in-depth questionnaire to determine if I may be of service. Due to the volume of inquiries into ignition interlock waivers, you must fill out this intake email for me to analyze your case first. Please do not call our office initially, as that actually slows the process down.
When seeking a financial hardship waiver, I use the following factors to build a persuasive case:
- How long has passed since your 2/5 DUI plea (minimum requirements apply)
- Whether you successfully completed probation requirements
- If you have had no further DUI arrests since your plea
- Your family finances and how many dependents you support
- Whether you own a car
- The particular reasons for needing your driver's license back immediately
- Whether you live in state or out of state
- If you anticipate your financial situation will change for better or worse in the near future
- Whether a interlock waiver was discussed prior to you entering your plea
At Zeliff | Watson, we have helped many people successfully petition for an interlock hardship waiver. While there are never any guarantees in cases, we will certainly analyze your case up-front to determine if we are likely to have success in your situation.