Friday Fallout: Here’s Why Drunk Driving On New Year’s Eve Is A Bad Idea

drunk driving on New Year's EveDecember 31st is here again, and as 2017 fades away and a fresh new year begins, it’s important to look back, reflect, and count all of the things you could lose if you get caught drunk driving on New Year’s Eve. If listing your family, friends, job, and home isn’t enough, police want you to give you a few other reasons you might want to avoid drinking and driving.

Fresno police just announced they are bringing back a controversial California DUI program called bar watch. Bar watch places undercover police officers in different drinking establishments. These officers will keep an eye on bar patrons, and if they think someone is about to drink and drive, they’ll follow that person to their car and will stop them from getting in and driving.

The bottom line: they aren’t going to let anyone in Fresno drink and drive, and neither are the police in Macon, Georgia. Although it’s almost on the other side of the country, Macon police are also hosting an anti-DUI program called ‘Drive sober or get pulled over.’ It’s an initiative that many states have used to fight drunk driving, and police will be out in force to catch anyone drunk driving on New Year’s Eve.

They’re running the program from December 15th to January 2nd, 2018, and police across the entire state of Georgia will be on the roads looking for drunk drivers. They’re warning all Georgia drivers that if they do drink and drive, being on Santa’s naughty list will be the least of their worries. Instead of a cozy holiday with family, they could be spending time inside a jail cell.

Whether you’re drinking and driving in California or hitting the road under the influence in Georgia, these two programs show that, no matter where you are in the USA this New Year’s, your best option is to drive sober.

Can You Get Around The Implied Consent Law In Georgia?

implied consent lawMost states have an implied consent law. That law means that, by accepting a driver’s license in your state, you agree to comply with police if they suspect you of drunk driving. This compliance may also mean you submit to a breathalyzer test upon request, and if you don’t, you could be charged for that refusal.

Although the implied consent law still stands, the Supreme Court of Georgia has recently made a new ruling on submitting to breathalyzers in the state — a person’s refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test can no longer be used as evidence again them in criminal court cases.

Now if a police officer pulls you over and suspects you of drunk driving in Georgia, he or she must now provide you with an implied consent warning. The warning instructs you of what implied consent law is and what will happen to you if you refuse.

Police may then ask you to submit to a breathalyzer. Because the breathalyzer is a voluntary test, you are able to refuse before and after arrest and the refusal cannot be held against you in a criminal court case.

The ruling came because the Supreme Court Justices of Georgia believed taking a breathalyzer test is comparative to making self-incriminating statements, and you shouldn’t be penalized within the criminal court system for the refusal.

Drunk driving offenders in Georgia may consider this to be good news, but this ruling isn’t a get-out-of-DUI-free card. Even if it can’t be held against you in a criminal court, refusing the breathalyzer can still end with you receiving the civil penalty of a one year driver’s license suspension. If you refuse the breathalyzer more than once, you could lose your driver’s license for three years.

Any way you look at it, refusing the breathalyzer doesn’t end in winning situation for the driver. Neither does drunk driving, so if you’d like to avoid situations where you’re asked to submit to a blood alcohol check, just don’t drink and drive.

Friday Fallout: Can You Bribe Your Way Out Of A DUI Arrest?

DUI ArrestWhen a police officer makes a DUI arrest, there’s no room for error. Each step of the process has to be detailed and properly documented in order for a possible arrest to stand up in a court of law. There’s no room for negotiation on the part of the offender either, but that hasn’t stopped some from trying.

One offender in Cobb County, Georgia decided that, despite the fact that he was drunk behind the wheel and just arrested for drunk driving, it could still be his lucky day. He was arrested in a church parking lot after he was pulled over by the police. When the officer looked inside the car he saw open alcohol, and the driver exhibited signs of being drunk.

Instead of complying when asked to perform field sobriety tests, the offender ran away. Police caught up with him and it took five officers to hold him down, but they finally managed to get him in the back of a squad car. That’s when he began negotiations to get out of his DUI arrest.

He offered the police officer one million dollars if they would release him. When that didn’t work, the offender also offered to shoot the officer in the back of the head. That didn’t go over so well either: he’s now been charged with DUI, making terrorist threats, bribery, and other offenses.

Just for the DUI arrest he’ll pay stiff fines, lose his driver’s license for a period of time, and if he’s lucky and he’s a first time Georgia offender, he’ll be able to access the new ignition interlock restricted license available to some drunk drivers.

This offender could chalk his behavior and attempted bribery up to being drunk, but it doesn’t matter how he reasons it because he’s in big trouble either way. Everyone can learn a lesson from this offender: DUI and bribery don’t mix any more than drinking and driving do, so you might want to avoid both.

Ask Georgia – Some Drunk Driving Penalties Help Offenders

drunk driving penaltiesNo matter where you live, if you drink and drive and you’re caught, you’ll have to pay the price. Fortunately for some offenders, there are drunk driving penalties available in some states that are designed to help you stay on the road while still preventing you from re-offending.

One new option for Georgia-based offenders will do exactly that. As of July 1st, anyone who has been charged with drunk driving in Georgia and who has received an administrative license suspension (ALS) might be able to receive a new driver’s license called the Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit.

The permit will only be issued as part of an offenders drunk driving penalties if that person waives his or her right to an administrative hearing and if they install an ignition interlock in their vehicles. There are also a few conditions they need to meet including:

  • The offender isn’t eligible if they have received their ALS because of a drunk driving crash
  • The offender cannot have a previous drunk driving conviction on his or her record within the past 5 years.

Once the driver has installed the ignition interlock, he or she will be required to use it for a period of time that’s determined by whether or not the driver refused to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing when he or she was arrested for drunk driving. If he or she submitted to a breathalyzer test, they will drive with an ignition interlock for 4 months. If that person refused the breathalyzer, they will need to use the interlock for 12 months.

An ignition interlock is definitely one of the best drunk driving penalties for any offender, because it keeps that person on the road while still ensuring they don’t drive under the influence. You can’t beat an option like that, especially after you’ve made the decision to drink and drive.

This Is Why Anyone With A DUI In Georgia Needs An Ignition Interlock

DUI in GeorgiaYou don’t want to get a DUI in Georgia (driving under the influence), or at least that’s what you’ll be left thinking after hearing about a case where one man received 50 years in prison for a drunk driving crash.

Jorge Solis is only 20 years old, so he isn’t even legal drinking age. That didn’t stop him from receiving a DUI conviction he was put on probation for, and that didn’t stop him from getting back behind the wheel drunk again last June. He was driving at 5 am down the I-75 in his truck, and he crashed head on into a vehicle carrying two men and three children.

Because of the crash two of the children and one of the men died, while the other child is paralyzed and another passenger severely injured.

Solis was unharmed. When police arrived they detected the scent of alcohol and observed that he was extremely intoxicated. He even passed out in front of police while leaning on the expressway median, and upon investigation they found an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. When police tested his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) they found he was well above the legal limit at .125.

Solis was charged with 3 counts of first degree homicide by vehicle, DUI under the age of 21, as well as possession of alcohol by a minor, driving on the wrong side of the road, and driving while his driver’s license was suspended.

For a second DUI in Georgia, an offender receives up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, a three year driver’s license suspension, and if the judge recommends it, an ignition interlock program. This was not a standard second time DUI offense, so for his crime the Georgia judge sentenced him to serve 50 years in prison.

Some repeat offenders like Solis will just keep on driving despite a suspension, and stats from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) show that 50 to 75% of drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license. This is exactly why Georgia needs an all offender ignition interlock law. With ignition interlocks, the offender doesn’t have the option to continue driving drunk. If they try to, the car won’t start.

Georgia is taking steps to pass an ignition interlock law for first time offenders with House Bill 205. It gives the judge the power to assign an ignition interlock to first time offenders with a BAC over .15, and it’s now on the way to the Governor’s office for a signature.

After a crash like this and a young person heading to jail for the rest of his life, it’s a step in the right direction for the state of Georgia.

Life After A DUI In Georgia

life-after-dui-georgiaGeorgia is one of those places everyone should visit at least once. Whether you’re traveling down Peachtree Street in Atlanta or visiting the beautiful mansions in Savannah, there’s something for everyone to see. The only thing you won’t want to do in Georgia is drink and drive, because that driving under the influence (DUI) conviction could cause you a lot of grief for a long, long time.

Here’s a look at what life is like after a DUI in Georgia

Georgia is a large state, covered in country back roads and busy highways, and you’ll have just as much chance of getting stopped for drinking and driving on either one. Once you see the flashing lights in your rear view window or you encounter a checkpoint, you’re going to want to get ready to submit to a breathalyzer test.

If you’re considering refusing the breathalyzer, think again—Georgia is one of the many states with an implied consent law, and that means if you refuse the breathalyzer, you’ll end up with a fine and a drivers license suspension anyway.

Once you blow over .08 and you’re officially arrested for DUI, you can begin to think ahead to your court date. You’ll have a lot of time on your hands to consider it too, because you’ll spend anywhere from 24 to 48 hours in jail for a first time DUI, and you could spend up to one year in prison.

Fines will range from a minimum of $300 upwards to $1,000, but these fines aren’t going to cover the fees you’ll pay for court costs, drivers license reinstatement fees, and any other expenses you’ll incur like mandatory alcohol/substance abuse driver education programs.

Speaking of drivers license reinstatement fees, you’ll also have time to think about that because one of Georgia’s Administrative penalties is the suspension of your drivers license for one year. You might be able to get it back after 3 months unless your arrest involved drugs. In that case, you’ll have to wait out a 6-month period.

You won’t be required to install an ignition interlock device for a first DUI conviction, but you will if you’re arrested for subsequent DUIs in Georgia. Your DUI conviction will stay on your record for a period of 10 years, so if you ever drink and drive again, the penalties will be swift and harsh.

It doesn’t sound very appealing to get drunk and drive in Georgia, does it? It’s a beautiful state to enjoy while sober behind the wheel, so don’t drink and drive.

Georgia Ready To Kick Off Operation Safe Holidays

car breathalyzerThe holidays have come again to Georgia, and along with planning your Thanksgiving dinner and Black Friday deals, you’ll want to take note of a message from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). They’d like to remind you that people will be on the roads traveling to and from their holiday get-togethers, and to think twice about what you do when you’re behind the wheel.

Law enforcement will be out in full force this holiday season, and there are several key safe driving campaigns running in Georgia this year. If you’re on the road driving to a friend’s house or home to family, watch for roadside stops for seat belt use during the Thanksgiving Click It Or Ticket Campaign. Moving onto impaired drivers, there will be road checks and extra law enforcement making sure the streets are free of impaired drivers during the busy Christmas season with Operation Zero Tolerance.

These campaigns are important because even though Georgia’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws are strict and include jail time, fines, and the possibility of a car breathalyzer for up to one year if you’re approved for a restricted driving permit, the state is still seeing a high number of DUI fatalities.

In 2012, there were 301 alcohol-related fatalities, and 27,903 DUI arrests. Even a low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than .08 could be enough to cause a crash, so it’s not surprising that statistics also show that 70% of the state’s alcohol-related crashes were due to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 and over.

The holidays are for happy gatherings with friends and family – don’t ruin it by getting an impaired driving charge or causing a crash. The holiday driving campaigns are on now and taking place throughout the state of Georgia, so stay safe by buckling up and never taking a drink before you get behind the wheel.

 

Ignition Interlock And DUI Laws in Georgia

ignition interlockDrinking and driving is dangerous, and that’s why there are driving under the influence (DUI) and ignition interlock laws created specifically for each and every state in the USA. Georgia DUI and ignition interlock laws include laws designed specifically for age brackets including under 15, ages 16 to 20, and 21 and older.

Georgia has zero tolerance for drinking drivers under the age of 21, meaning if you are younger than 21 you can’t have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.02% and still drive. Because Georgia’s Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA) allows 15 year olds to begin a graduated license system, there are provisions in Georgia’s DUI laws to cover drivers this young.

Penalties for a first DUI offense under the age of 15 include:

  • License suspension until the driver is 17 years old
  • Fees payable up to $210
  • Attendance at DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk program

Penalties for a first DUI offense between the ages of 16 to 20 include:

  • License suspension for six months if you have a BAC of .08 and under or 12 months if your BAC is over .08
  • Fines payable up to $210
  • Attendance at a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk program

In Georgia, people between the ages of 16 to 20 are eligible for an ignition interlock device installation if they are found guilty of a second DUI offense. If you are a 16 to 20 year old and are guilty of a second DUI offense, the penalties include:

  • License suspension for 18 months
  • Fines payable up to $310
  • DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk program
  • Clinical evaluation and possible drug or alcohol treatment
  • With court permission, an ignition interlock installation after 120 days of license suspension

When you are over 21, the penalties for drinking and driving increase. If you are a first offender over the age of 21, you’ll receive:

  • License suspension of up to 1 year
  • Possible jail time of up to one year
  • Fines payable between $300 and $1000
  • $210 license reinstatement fee
  • Must attend Alcohol or Drug Risk Program
  • 40 hours of community service
  • Possibility of an ignition interlock installation if you are approved for a restricted driving permit.

Strict DUI and ignition interlock laws like those found in Georgia are designed to keep drinking drivers, including very young drinking drivers, off of the roads. No matter what state you live in or how old you are, stay safe by making the choice to drive sober.

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