At first glance, the new Georgia Ignition Interlock law does allow for people to avoid a license suspension and still fight their case.
However, after thirty days of evaluating its implications, the downside of having an interlock placed on our client's automobiles is significant.
One problem with the law is that a client has 30 days to make their decision to appeal their license suspension or apply for the ignition interlock. However, in most jurisdictions, it is impossible to review all of the evidence in that 30-day period. As a result, clients are forced to decide without being fully informed.
A bigger problem is that once someone commits to an interlock device, that commitment is for an entire year. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, the interlock must be installed for 12-months.
Many clients have a change of heart and want to settle their case with a plea agreement. Had they filed an appeal, instead of installing the ignition interlock, they would have had a restricted license for 120 days and then full reinstatement thereafter. Instead, these clients will be stuck with their decision for an entire year.
Many cases are reduced to reckless driving after the prosecutor and defense review the evidence. Unfortunately, even when the DUI is dismissed, or the case is reduced, the interlock must stay on the client's car for a full year.
Some clients elect to have a trial in their case. Again, even if we win the case, the interlock stays. Are you getting the drift here?
As with the Lord, the State giveth and the State taketh away. Sometimes what is lost is more than what was first assumed.
I viewed the new law as an opportunity for those who claimed their innocence to have a chance to drive while fighting their cases. It is still true that a person does not have to risk a hard license suspension when they agree to the interlock.
However, client reaction has been unenthusiastic. Few people want to commit to blowing into a tube for 12-months. It is easy to understand why they would not.
For more Georgia DUI Information or discussion about our new administrative license law, check back often.