Although the majority of DUI offenses are committed by first time offenders, repeat offenders also account for a substantial portion - at least 1/3 - of annual DUI arrests in the United States. Many first time offenders are one-time offenders, but for some drivers, recidivism remains an issue of great concern. A person with one prior DUI conviction is at least 4.1 times more likely to be arrested for DUI again than a person without a prior conviction.
Lawmakers have devised at least a few methods to combat recidivism in DUI offenders. The penalties for a convicted DUI are meant to be the foremost means of deterrence. Lawmakers implicitly hope that fines, license suspensions, a black mark on the offender's record, and possible jail time will be enough to prevent the offender from driving under the influence again, but this goal does not always pan out.
How Law Enforcement Stops Repeat DUI Offenders
One of the chief provisions to safeguard against repeat offenses are ignition interlock devices, breathalyzers that are hard-wired into the vehicle's ignition, preventing it from starting unless the driver blows a 0.00 blood alcohol content reading.
If the device registers a positive result, the result will be sent to the driver's parole officer and penalties may apply. False positives can occur but are not terribly common.
When drivers with prior DUI convictions are found driving under the influence again, steeper penalties will apply, and they stand to lose their license for a substantially longer amount of time than first-time offenders.
Tennessee Lawmakers Seeks to Inhibit Alcohol Purchasing Ability
Because standard measures to deter repeat offenses have only been somewhat effective, a lawmaker in Georgia's northern neighbor of Tennessee has proposed a new measure. The proposed measure would inhibit past DUI offenders from buying alcohol for three years after their convictions by putting a red stripe on their licenses. The presence of this red stripe would mean that the license-holder is prohibited from buying alcohol, and anyone who sells alcohol to a restricted person would be charged with a misdemeanor.
This provocative measure is sure to spur much debate if it advances in the state's legislative system. Despite Tennessee being the lone state to consider the measure or something akin to it, it is always worthwhile to pay attention to legislative developments in other, especially neighboring, states. One or two states can begin legislative "trends" when adopting new laws. In 1983, Utah and Oregon were the only states with a .08 BAC limit; today this limit is employed by all states except Utah, which recently changed the legal limit from .08 to .05 and which unleashed a subsequent uproar not only by its citizens but by other states.
Infringing on Citizen Rights?
Would this measure, proposed in Utah, infringe on citizen rights? It is an interesting question. Would taking away the ability to purchase alcohol be a more powerful deterrent than taking away driving privileges? Does this infringe on citizens' rights on some basic level? All of this is up for debate as the measure moves forward in the legislature. The new session for the general assembly in the state began this week on January 9th. We, in Georgia, will pay particular attention to the debate. As our neighbor, what happens in Tennessee can impact what happens in Georgia, too.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Georgia as a first or repeat offender, the outcome of your case will greatly depend on the caliber of your legal representative. Contact Georgia DUI attorney for a free consultation on your case. Never face severe Georgia DUI Penalties without first speaking to our office.