Drunk drivers have long faced tough punishments in Georgia, but a new state law has overhauled the way those punishments are meted out. Atlanta DUI Attorney Tom Rowsey, who focuses his practice on DUI law, says that the new rules don’t let drunk drivers off easy - but they do make the process much more practical.
The new law makes it easier for repeat DUI offenders to earn a limited driver’s license so they can get to work, court appointments and other necessities. Previously, Georgia drunk drivers faced a full year of “hard suspension” of their driver’s license, with no alternatives - not even installing an ignition lock with a built-in breathalyzer.
“These changes don’t make it any more pleasant to be convicted of drunk driving,” Rowsey said. “They’re designed to make the penalties more practical. It doesn’t help society if these offenders can’t get to their jobs or go to school.”
The law has always allowed first time offenders within a five year period limited driving privileges for going to and from work, probation appointments, rehab facilities, or seeing a doctor.
“For a multiple offender within a five year period, a driver has to install the ignition interlock to even qualify,” Rowsey said.
Other language in the law affects underage drinkers caught driving. Previously, 16-20 year old drunk drivers received a lighter sentence and faced less severe driving restrictions. Under the new law, they are treated the same as their 21+ year old counterparts.
Rowsey says the new law doesn’t fix all of the problems with DUI cases in Georgia, but it moves in the right direction.
“It’s time that we stop seeing drunk drivers as demons,” Rowsey said. “These are human beings who made a very serious mistake. It needs to be corrected, but the consequences must make sense. This law helps accomplish that.”
The law went into effect January 1, 2013
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Original Source: Atlanta DUI Attorney Offers Opinion On the New Georgia State DUI Law