A strict new law regarding Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs was just passed in Georgia. We don't know if it is the strictest law in the country, but it is a far cry from a slap on the wrist.
During the 2008 legislative session, HB 336 was passed with very little opposition. It became effective 7-1-2008. It opens the window wider for MO's and HV's and establishes that a 4th DUI within 10 years is a felony. This 10 year window begins 7-1-08 and goes forward only. Below is a summary of the law with the major changes in bold.
- Complete DUI School
- Fine not less than $300 or more than $1000
- Jail term of not less than 10 days or more than 12 months, however, the judge may suspend or probate all but 24 hours
- Not less than 40 hours of community service unless BAL was .08 or less, in such case the community may be as little as 20 hours
- A clinical evaluation, unless waived by the court
- Completion of a treatment program if recommended by the evaluation
- 12 months probation.
Second DUI within 10 years from 7-1-08 same as above except:
- The fine is not less than $600 nor more than $1000
- Jail term is not less than 90 days or more than 12 months, judge may suspend all but 72 hours
- Community service not less than 30 days
- Clinical evaluation and treatment if recommended (This can be waived by a judge)
Third DUI within 10 years from 7-1-08 same as above except:
- The fine is not less than $1000 or more than $5000
- Jail term is not less than 120 days or more than 12 months, judge may suspend all by 15 days
Four or more DUI's within 10 years beginning 7-1-08 is a felony. Penalties are the same as above except:
- The period of imprisonment is not less than one year or more than 5 years, judge may suspend all but 90 days
- No less than 60 days of community service unless the defendant is sentenced to serve 3 years in prison
- 5 years probation, less time served
- The judge may suspend up to one-half of the fine if the defendant is undergoing treatment. The other legal requirements regarding ignition interlocks and Drives License suspension periods are not changed.
Many attorneys recommend that offenders attend the DUI School class and obtain a Clinical Evaluation immediately, so that they can tell the judge that the offender has already begun to take responsibility for the offense. We are State-Certified by the Georgia Department of Human Resources to provide those evaluations, as well as to provide treatment if the Clinical Evaluation recommends it.
The Georgia DHR uses the criteria set up by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to determine what level of care should be recommended. "ASAM Level I" is an outpatient group that meets once a week. "ASAM Level II" is an outpatient group that meets three times per week.