Changes to GA DUI Ignition Interlock Permits

According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization, ignition interlock devices have prevented some 1.77 million drunk driving attempts in the United States. An ignition interlock device is installed on a vehicle to prevent it from starting if any alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath when they blow into the device. The ignition interlock device may also periodically require a breath sample during a driving excursion as a method of ensuring the driver did not have another person blow into the device to start it up. Every state in the United States currently has some type of ignition interlock requirements for those convicted of DUI, however only about half the states require an ignition interlock device for first-time offenders.

In the state of Georgia, laws implemented in 2017 increased the use of ignition interlock devices, giving first-time DUI offenders the option of using the ignition interlock device in lieu of having their driver’s license suspended for a year. Ignition interlock devices are costly—about $100 to install, and a daily maintenance fee of approximately $2.60. A second DUI conviction in the state of Georgia will result in a license suspension for 18 months, however you may be able to obtain a restricted driving permit with the installation of an ignition interlock device, after 120 have passed. For a third or subsequent DUI conviction in the state of Georgia, your license will be suspended for five years, however you may be able to obtain a restricted driving permit after two years have passed if you have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

Other research aside from MADD, also shows that drivers who are compelled to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle have far fewer alcohol-related crashes than those who have their license suspended. This is likely due to the fact that a significant number of those who have a suspended license (due to a DUI conviction) continue to drive, despite the suspension. There are now 81 million Americans who live in states which have all-offender ignition interlock laws as compared to 2006, when there were only 2 million. While Georgia is not one of these all-offender states, the ignition interlock requirements in Georgia are gradually increasing.

New Georgia Laws Related to Ignition Interlock Devices

As of November 1, 2017, when an ignition interlock provider sends a Non-Compliance Report to the Department of Driver Services in the state of Georgia, the affected person will receive a Pending Revocation Notice. The person will then have the opportunity to submit written documentation to DDS, detailing the reason he or she failed to report for monitoring, tampered with the device, or had the device removed prior to completion of the ignition interlock program. There are several acceptable reasons for non-compliance, including:

  • Incarceration;
  • Medical necessity;
  • The person has written proof they would have been terminated from their employment if they were not on the job.
  • The vehicle was rendered inoperable due to mechanical failure, fire or collision.

The person who receives the Notice of Non-Compliance must send written documentation of the any of the acceptable reasons, or their Ignition Interlock Permit will be revoked for four months.

Getting Help with Your Georgia Ignition Interlock Device and Your DUI Charges

If you are having difficulties related to your ignition interlock device, or other issues related to DUI charges, speaking to a knowledgeable Georgia DUI criminal defense attorney like Melanie Ellwanger will ensure your rights are properly protected. A DUI involves administrative issues related to your driver’s license, as well as Georgia criminal law. You could be facing the loss of your driving privileges, high fines and fees, jail time, and mandatory drug or alcohol treatment. When you need an experienced, dedicated Georgia DUI attorney who specializes in defending DUI cases, contact Melanie Ellwanger at 404-803-3105, or melanie@hiremelaw.com.