Recently, several of my clients have been contacted by an ignition interlock company after their arrest. The correspondence is styled in a way that makes it appear to be sent by the State of Georgia.
The solicitation contains misleading and incorrect information including the following:
“if an IID is required, failure to install an ignition interlock could result in additional fines and/or jail time.”
Well, what a load of total crap. To begin with, whether someone installs an ignition interlock device has absolutely no effect on the statutory fines and/or potential time in jail a person would receive. It also has no practical effect on the outcome of the case in court. These letters are sent prior to a person attending court and are only related to the pre-trial decision to either appeal their license suspension or install an ignition interlock device. These letters are not related to situations when a person is required to install an interlock on their vehicle after a conviction for a second or more DUI offense.
What is the choice and when does it have to be made?
When a person is arrested, they have a choice. They may choose to file an appeal of their license suspension or install an ignition interlock. The appeal or installation must occur within 30 days of the arrest. Additionally, if the interlock option is installed, then, the driver must obtain a permit to drive from the Georgia Department of Driver Services. The driver must get the permit within the same 30 days.
Should I install an Ignition Interlock after a Georgia DUI Arrest?
There are many reasons to choose to either install an interlock or to do the appeal. That is why you should consult with a qualified Georgia DUI Lawyer before making the decision.
To begin with, the interlock option is unavailable to out of state drivers, drivers under the age of 21, and for drivers who have had a DUI conviction in Georgia in the past five years. Also, we rarely suggest an ignition interlock for people who have submitted to an official state-administered breath or blood test unless there are other factors that may require it.
We are more likely to recommend interlock when it is a case where the person is accused of refusing testing and they wish to contest their case in court. However, there is no hard and fast rule. The facts of a person's case matter, along with what they want their Georgia DUI Attorney to attempt to achieve with their case. Before I can advise a client, I need to know to know more about their case and their individual needs.
There are times when an appeal would make more sense to the driver. This would include where people are certain that they do not want to contest their case, or for people who cannot have the embarrassment of blowing into a device to start their car. Also, in some jurisdictions an experienced DUI Lawyer in Georgia may know that the officers are more likely to withdraw administrative suspensions, and as a result, installing an ignition interlock would not be an advantage.
The point is, consult your lawyer first. We are here to help 24/7 and would be happy to provide you a sound legal opinion about your case. As for these solicitations, throw them in the garbage. If you decide to install an interlock, choose another company that is not providing misinformation. We have no opinion as to which other company you should elect to choose.
Consumer Advocacy Note:
I also would like to note that there are ways that you can determine whether or not a website is legitimate or a government entity.
Take https://dds.georgia.gov/ for instance.
The ".gov" means it's official. State government websites often end in .gov. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a state website. Still not sure? Call 1-800-GEORGIA to verify that a website is an official website of the State of Georgia.
The "https://" means that it is secure. It ensures that the information entered is both encrypted and transmitted securely.
I recommend copying and pasting the URL of every website into a separate note to determine whether or not it is a .gov website or a secure website before entering any time of data or information.