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Groups pushing for tougher penalties for DUI offenders in Georgia

Earlier this week on our Athens, Georgia, DUI law blog, we discussed some of the serious charges and consequences intoxicated drivers face if they are accused of causing a motor vehicle accident, especially if the accident results in serious injury or death. But Georgia motorists could soon be facing tougher penalties for first-offense DUI charges, even if they are not responsible for causing a car accident.

Fines, possible jail time and the suspension of one's license are all penalties motorists in Georgia face if they have been charged with DUI. Last week, the group Mothers Against Drunk Drivers asked the state's lawmakers to also make it a requirement for DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles after they have been accused of drunk driving.

Currently, repeat DUI offenders are required to have the devices installed in their vehicles in Georgia. The device works much like a breath test in that it requires a driver to blow into the device in order to measure the driver's blood alcohol concentration. The individual's vehicle will not start unless his or her BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08.

These devices are certainly helpful for reducing the number of drunk drivers on our roads, but the ignition interlock devices are also costly for users. Some may argue that forcing first-time DUI offenders to have the devices installed in their vehicles may not be necessary since they have no previous history of drunk driving. However, M.A.D.D. argues that the devices could prevent more drivers from making the same mistake twice.

Similar proposals to change DUI penalties for first-time offenders in Georgia have already failed twice in general assembly sessions.

Source: CBS Atlanta, "M.A.D.D. pushes for tougher DUI legislation," Craig Bell, Feb. 29, 2012