Ignition Interlock in Atlanta DUI Cases

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath test machine that is hooked up to a person’s car that requires the driver to give a breath sample when they start the car and periodically while they are driving. If the machine detects any alcohol on the person’s breath, it will shut down the engine and the person will be forced to stop. The machine will lock the ignition so that the ignition will not work if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath.

Under Georgia law, if a person is convicted of a subsequent DUI within a 10 year window from their first arrest, they are required to get an ignition interlock device installed on their car when they seek to have their license reinstated. Currently, the law in Georgia states that if a person is arrested and convicted for a second DUI in Atlanta, they are not eligible to drive at all for four months. At four months, they can get an ignition interlock device put on their car and a limited driving permit, which is often called a work permit. They will have that on their car for 12 months before they can get their full license reinstated.

Benefits of an Interlock Device

To get a restricted license, often called a work permit, for a second or subsequent DUI, Georgia law requires that they get an ignition interlock device installed on their car. Some years ago, the person could elect not to get the ignition interlock device and just wait an additional suspension period to get their license reinstated without ignition interlock. Now, however, regardless of how long a person waits before they get a permit or seek to have their license reinstated, for a second DUI conviction they are required to get the ignition interlock device.

How Expense is An Interlock Device?

Ignition interlock devices can be very expensive. Most providers charge a fee of $75 to $100 to install the device and charge a monitoring fee of about $150 per month. It does get expensive with time.

Fighting Ignition Interlock

Most clients, once they learn the process to get the waiver of IID installation, decide not to go forward with it. The driver who does not want to get the IID device has to show true financial hardship. For example, attorneys can often convince a judge of hardship when the client is a single mom with a child with extensive medical bills for ongoing medical issues; a judge would be sympathetic in that case and sign the waiver, but absence of some type of extreme hardship most judges will not sign the waiver.

Other Alcohol Monitoring Devices

In addition to the ignition interlock device, some of the courts will also use an ankle monitor device that is placed on a person’s leg that can detect the metabolites of alcohol that a person will expel from the body when they sweat. The most common of these is called a Scram Device. Scram is a brand name and it detects alcohol if someone consumes it.

These types of devices are often ordered if the court is sentencing a person with third or fourth DUIs to a period of probation after their jail time. The judge may bee concerned a person starts drinking and driving or becoming violent. In addition, an ignition interlock device is helpful if the person is driving, but does not do anything to stop a person’s behavior. Many times the courts will order these other types of alcohol detection devices to be used, if they do not feel the ignition interlock is not the right fit for the individual’s case.