Did you know that a DUI across the border in Alabama will result in a 90 day administrative license suspension, but here in Georgia it will be a 1 year suspension? Or a DUI in Florida can result in your car getting impounded? Or an insurance company can deny coverage for someone injured if they were intoxicated in Georgia, but not in North Carolina? This is because every state treats a DUI slightly differently.
Many people are surprised to learn of the harsh penalties associated with a drunk driving arrest here in Georgia. Especially if they know someone in another state who seems to have gotten off with a lighter penalty. Each state treats a DUI slightly differently, and except for Georgia's 1 years administrative license suspension, it falls in line with most of the other states.
Felony DUI by State
In Georgia, a driver's 4th DUI within a 10 year period will be treated as a felony DUI. Some states, including New York and Oklahoma, provide that a second DUI within 10 years can be a felony. In Washington state, it is not until a driver's fifth offense that they will be charged with a felony DUI. Some states, including Colorado have no provision for a felony law for subsequent violators.
High BAC Limit Penalties
Georgia, like other states, considers a per se intoxication violation to be any blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 % or higher. However, there are additional penalties in Georgia if the driver had a higher BAC of 0.15 % or greater. Most states have additional high BAC penalties, but not all. Mississippi does not treat a BAC of 0.15 differently than a BAC of 0.08. In other states, the limit for a high DUI is greater. States like Massachusetts and Idaho have a higher BAC limit of 0.20 % or greater. This can mean more jail time, mandatory interlock installation, and longer DUI education courses.
Ignition Interlock Devices for DUI
An ignition interlock device (IID) provides a system for requiring a driver to blow a sober breath in the machine before the car will drive. In most cases, the driver is responsible for the cost of installation, and regular maintenance checks. But not all states require an IID for a DUI conviction. Many states, including Arkansas and Louisiana, require an IID for all DUI convictions. Other states, including Georgia, only require an IID for repeat convictions. some states, such as Florida and Maryland only require an IID for a high BAC.
Different state law not only affects drivers, but also their cars. In some states, the driver's vehicle will be impounded, in others the vehicle will be confiscated by the state. In other states, no action at all is taken against the driver's car.
Local, Experienced DUI Defense in Georgia
Whether it's called driving under the influence (DUI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI), it is important to have a local DUI defense lawyer on your side to make sure you get treated fairly. A criminal lawyer who does not exclusively practice DUI law may not know all the latest law and science involved in DUI defense. As an Atlanta based DUI lawyer, I have built my practice on DUI defense, including undergoing the same specialized training and DUI police officers. If you or a loved one have been charged with driving under the influence in Georgia, call me so we can fight your charges.