What is Ignition Interlock and Who Must Have It in Georgia?
An ignition interlock device is an alcohol monitoring system for your car. Using similar technology to cops' portable breath tests- a fuel cell- the ignition interlock device is designed to prevent your car from starting if your BAC (breath alcohol concentration) is above the cutoff.
What is interlock?
An interlock device is about the size of a cell phone, and is mounted on or around your dash, with the unit mounted under your dash. The device must be hooked up and periodically serviced in Georgia by an authorized company. The company will have reporting obligations in the event of a positive reading.
Who must have interlock?
In Georgia, interlock devices are required for all second DUI offenders if your prior DUI was within 5 years of the current charge. This window goes by dates of arrest. So, if you were arrested for a first DUI on July 1, 2010 and again on July 1, 2014, you would be subject to ignition interlock. If your second arrest was after July 1, 2015, you would not be subject to interlock under current Georgia laws.
Judges in Georgia now have the power to grant an ignition interlock permit after only four months if you are enrolled in a treatment program. The treatment- usually DUI court- must be maintained in order to have this permit, and the Judge must sign off and file an order with the Dept. of Driver Services. Signing an order for early interlock is completely up to the Judge, so they have the absolute power to deny the order. We see Judge's using this power to promote DUI court participation, rather than have DUI offenders merely do treatment through their private provider while on DUI probation.
Interlock hardship waivers:
In addition to ignition interlock hardship permits, Judges in Georgia have the power to exempt DUI offenders from interlock. Of course, a Judge is only going to consider exempting you from interlock under extraordinary circumstances. The standard for exemption is that you have an undue financial hardship that limits your ability to install and maintain interlock. Often, clients who don't live in Georgia, haven't owned a car in years, or had their last DUI 5+ years ago are good candidates to pursue an interlock hardship waiver. Simply having trouble coming up with the money a few months after your DUI plea will not usually cut it in Georgia courts. Judges are very hesitant to waive the interlock requirement, only to have you reappear in the system for another DUI arrest.
Igniton interlock attorneys:
If you have questions about ignition interlock in Georgia, call our office today. All of our defense attorneys have extensive experience in interlock related matters, and can cover your options for post adjudication interlock issues. We can be reached at (770) 676-1340.