Who Makes the DUI Laws in Georgia?
The Georgia DUI laws are updated every year by the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia General Assembly is the state legislative for Georgia. It consists of the Senate and House of Representatives. Georgia has 236 members that serve two-year terms and are directly elected by constituents of their district.
The Georgia General Assembly meets to propose laws on a variety of topics. DUI legislation and criminal law are just two of the numerous topics they cover during their session.
Why are the DUI Laws Updated?
The Georgia General Assembly meets once a year and has the power to make laws necessary and proper for the welfare of the state of Georgia. All Georgia DUI laws must be consistent with the Constitution. Each year, they meet and discuss proposed legislation and update current laws when needed.
Every state has rules concerning drinking and driving. New York was the first state to adopt drunk driving laws in 1910 and then the rest of the states followed. Early DUI laws stated that a driver could not operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The laws became much stricter and more complex in the 1970s when groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Drunk Driving began advocating for stricter laws. The pressures from these groups led to abundant changes in the DUI laws. Even today, groups such as MADD and SADD influence whether the Georgia General Assembly updates the laws or not. In 2012, the DUI laws in Georgia went through a large renovation that increased penalties for misdemeanor DUI offenses.
The DUI and criminal laws are updated every year. While that may seem unnecessary, some states update their criminal laws even more frequent and others less frequent. It is crucial that the DUI laws change to keep up with technological advances and to address any problems that have arisen in the past year. The Georgia General Assembly seeks to address these issues each year. Some years no changes are made to the DUI laws while other years, substantial changes are enforced.
What are Some of the Major Changes to the DUI Laws?
House Bill 205 was recently enacted in March 2016 and included some significant changes to DUI laws.
- Currently, if you refuse a Breathalyzer and fail to send in your thirty-day letter timely, your driver's license goes into immediate suspension on the 31st day following your arrest and remains in suspension for one year. You are not currently eligible for a work, school or medical permit. It is a one-year hard suspension.
The new legislature will allow someone who refuses the state-administered test to continue driving with restriction. Under the new law, if you refuse the State test and fail to submit your thirty day letter timely, or you lose your administrative license hearing, you will be able to drive with the installation of an Interlock Device in your vehicle. This device will require you to blow into a Breathalyzer to start your vehicle and often asks for samples while you are driving to keep the car running. This ensures you are not having someone else blow into the Breathalyzer to simply start the car.
2. In current law, once you enter a guilty plea to DUI, your license is immediately suspended. If it is your first DUI within five years in Georgia, you are eligible for a limited permit. The limited permit allows you to drive to work, to school, and for medical purposes. The limited permit lasts for 120 days and then a person is eligible to reinstate their license fully again.
When the new legislation goes into effect, there will no longer be any restriction as far as where a person can drive during the first 120 days following a plea to DUI. The catch is the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. Although the device cost money to install and has a monthly service charge, this will allow people to drive wherever they chose to during the first four months.
DUI laws are constantly changing, and it can be overwhelming to attempt and figure it out by yourself. If you have any questions, the Law Office of Richard Lawson and his highly experienced team of Georgia DUI lawyers are here for you. Feel free to contact us anytime with any questions or for a free consultation.