Georgia’s DUI Laws -Don’t Drink and Drive

By the Georgia Department of Human Resources, From “The Daily Citizen”

ATLANTA – As the New Year approaches, this year’s toast to 2010 could cost you approximately $10,000 for driving under the influence (DUI). In Georgia a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 grams or more promises jail time, bail, fines, fees and insurance-rate increases even if your actions did not harm anyone.

Each year, Georgia has more than 200,000 DUI arrests with the 5 Atlanta metropolitan counties accounting for more than 20,000 arrests each. According to Century Council, approximately 11,773 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. The penalties are intended to be discouraging and law enforcement officials are cracking down on driving while intoxicated.

Below are just some of the costs associated with DUI arrests:

Bail: Cost: $150 – $2,500. Cost of DUI arrests depends on how many offenses you’ve had and your blood alcohol level.

Towing: Cost: $50 – $200. The cost of towing and impounding a car can add up daily. Some cities even auction your car if you can not afford to get your car after 30 days.

Insurance: Cost: $4,500 or more. One of the biggest hits a drunken driver takes is in insurance premiums, which can likely affect insurance rates for three to five years. Rates can likely double, triple or ever quadruple and companies will classify the policy as “high-risk”.

Fines: Cost $300 – $5,000. Depending on your offense and if there have been any other arrests in the past.

Alcohol evaluation: Cost $95 – $300. An evaluation is required of anyone who is sentenced by court for drunken driving.

Alcohol education and treatment: Cost $500 – $4,000 for basic treatment. If you are convicted, you must usually go through an education or treatment program, especially if your license has been suspended.

License reinstatement fees: Cost $210 – $410. If you are convicted of a DUI in Georgia (or any other state), you can expect to face several fees to secure the reinstatement of your driver’s license. After you have completed a state-certified risk reduction program, which costs $287, you can reinstate your Georgia driver’s license for a fee of $210 – $410.

In addition to the “standard” costs of a DUI conviction, there are some consequences that are more difficult to place a number value upon but can be more devastating to many people. DUI arrests and convictions costs money, time, and can lead to job loss or prevent future employment opportunities.

If you plan to drink, plan for a designated driver. If you have had too much to drink and don’t have a designated driver, take a cab or get a sober friend to drive you home. The consequences are sobering!

Contact a Georgia DUI Lawyer if you are in need of DUI defense.

Success Rate Touted for Local Georgia DUI Court

Courts that combine traditional sentences for drunken driving with treatment for repeat offenders have succeeded and the state should invest more funding in the initiatives, supporters said Friday.

A report released Friday said the rate of recidivism was 9 percent for graduates from three of Georgia’s earliest DUI courts, based in Athens, Chatham County and Hall County, compared to 24 percent for offenders in different counties that didn’t have the courts.

“Treatment with supervision works with hard-core drunken driving offenders,” said Clarke County State Court Judge Kent Lawrence, who handles Athens’ DUI court.

In the DUI court system, offenders are incarcerated for a while, but then enter a treatment program under court supervision. If the offender violates the terms of the treatment program, he or she can be jailed again, for progressively longer stays with each violation.

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Monday, October 27, 2008

Georgia Lawmen Disturbed by DUI’s

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Fifteen people were charged with DUI during weekend roadblocks on the bypass in Albany. Officers are particularly disturbed by some many DUI arrests on such a busy road.

More than 60 police officers and deputies from 12 counties set up roadblocks across Dougherty County Friday night. One of the largest on the Liberty Bypass, where they made close to a dozen DUI arrests.

“One of the biggest areas we identified, we have a lot of people who drive down the Liberty Bypass who have been consuming alcohol after they leave an establishment,” said Dougherty County Police Lt. Thomas Jackson.

Police also held five people who tested positive for alcohol, but did not meet the DUI limit. Officers made them call people to drive them home. In all Dougherty County Police handed out 120 citations in the six hour long roadblock, and arrested eight people.

Albany Police handed out 58 citations, made six arrests, one of them a DUI.

The Georgia State Patrol gave out 69 tickets, 29 warnings, and arrested 8 drivers for DUI. Not all of those DUI arrests were on the Bypass.

Five people have died in crashes and accidents on the Liberty Bypass so far in 2008, none of which involved DUI’s. But Police are concerned by the weekend’s results.

“It’s another rationality to show you that the Liberty Expressway is a deadly roadway,” Jackson said.

Law enforcement knows speed is one main reason the Expressway is so dangerous, add alcohol to that speed, and there is concern.

“Our local law enforcement will certainly step up their patrols in areas where we find high numbers of violations,” said Safe Communities Coordinator Michele DeMott.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety says the number of DUI crashes in Dougherty County have gone down, but Cops say they will step up patrols on the Liberty Bypass to keep them that way.

The Southwest Georgia Traffic Enforcement Network conducts county wide roadblocks once a month.

News report/article by Jim Wallce, WALB News

Falcons Safety Lawyer Milloy Charged With DUI and Speeding

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Falcons safety Lawyer Milloy was arrested on DUI and speeding charges in suburban Atlanta early Monday, just hours after Atlanta lost to Tampa Bay.

At his Monday news conference, Atlanta coach Mike Smith would not offer details on any potential discipline Milloy could face.

“Any time any of our players are in this type of situation, we are extremely disappointed, myself and our organization,” Smith said. “It’s something that is completely unacceptable.”

Gwinnett County police charged the 34-year-old Milloy with driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding. Milloy, who lives in nearby Buford, was booked into the suburban Atlanta jail at 4:35 a.m. and posted a bond of more than US$1,600 about five hours later.

Though Milloy spoke with Smith before the team meeting on Monday afternoon, Milloy was not present in the locker room when reporters were allowed in from 12:35-1:20 p.m.

He issued a one-sentence statement through lawyer Manubir Arora of Atlanta.

“I apologize to my family, my teammates, (Falcons owner) Mr. (Arthur) Blank, coach Smith, (general manager) Thomas Dimitroff and our great fans for the incident that occurred following Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay,” Milloy said.

Milloy, with 192 starts in his 198 career games, has been considered a team leader since signing a three-year contract worth US$6 million in March 2006. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, he helped New England win its first Super Bowl in February 2002.

Under the league’s substance abuse policy and program, a DUI conviction could result in Milloy getting tested, evaluated and treated for alcoholism. Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Falcons also could impose fines, but Smith gave no details.

“I’ve had a conversation with Lawyer this morning, a very lengthy conversation,” Smith said. “It was something that I’d like to keep private between he and I. What I can tell you is that this matter will be handled internally. The league and the (NFL Players Association) sets certain standards on things you can and cannot do.”

Smith seemed irritated with reporters when asked about the team’s plans for handling Milloy’s predicament.

“When I say internally, I mean it’s going to be handled internally,” Smith said. “We’re going to work through this. We’ve got to let the process run its course. It’s a legal matter.”

Centre Todd McClure, a Falcon since 1999, indicated that Milloy, who led Atlanta with seven solo tackles in the 24-9 loss at Tampa Bay, remains a respected teammate and leader in the locker room.

“Lawyer’s a great guy, and we’re going to support him through this,” McClure said. “He just made a mistake.”

Article from the Canadian Press

Georgia Speeding Ticket Lawyers

Holiday Crackdown On DUI In Georgia

Law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in full force this holiday weekend, looking for impaired drivers and people not wearing their seatbelts.

Several Georgia agencies in border counties will be pairing with their counterparts across state lines for “Hands Across the Border.”

In Newnan, officers “will be out in force during the Labor Day weekend and will be aggressively enforcing traffic laws,” said Newnan Police Deputy Chief Rodney Riggs.

Impaired drivers and those not wearing their seatbelts will be the main targets, Riggs said.

“Seatbelts have been proven time and again to save lives in motor vehicle collisions,” he said. “No warnings on seatbelts. Click it or ticket.”

Riggs strongly encourages those who will be celebrating the holiday with alcohol to have a designated driver.

A DUI arrest and conviction “has a tremendous impact on the driver that they

may not consider,” Riggs said. That includes having your vehicle towed, having to post bond, fines of more than $1,000, a suspended license, and a criminal record.

Riggs also cautions drivers on possible high-traffic areas. Bullsboro Drive near the interstate is often congested, but might be even more so this weekend, with the Powers’ Crossroads festival and interstate construction.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is recommending that drivers take U.S. 29 or Ga. Hwy. 54/34 to bypass the interstate construction in Coweta.

The DOT is also announcing that the lane closures and construction on 75/85 through downtown Atlanta will continue throughout the weekend, with extremely heavy congestion.

However, the DOT is bringing in extra message signs and HERO units.

Locally, another traffic hot spot will be the intersection of Bullsboro Drive and Millard Farmer Industrial Boulevard/Hwy. 34 Bypass. That is the main route that visitors take to get to Powers’ Crossroads, though there are many other possible routes to take to the festival to avoid traffic.

“Expect heavy traffic, and adjust your routes and travel times accordingly,” Riggs said.

The state hasn’t yet released traffic fatality predictions for the holiday period.

Historically, Riggs said, Newnan has had a low number of traffic fatalities. And the NPD wants to keep it that way.

“The Newnan Police Department intends to do everything in our abilities to insure there are no fatalities during the Labor Day weekend,” Riggs said.

“We ask that everyone use their seatbelts, slow down, and be patient. We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.”

The Georgia State Patrol and other agencies are cracking down on speeders as part of 100 Days of Summer HEAT — Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic.

“Our highway safety data shows speed, impaired driving and unrestrained driving are still the top three causes of fatal crashes, not just during the summer holidays but throughout the year,” said Bob Dallas, director of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

The summer-long HEAT campaign is designed to make high-risk drivers feel the heat on their checkbooks, license points and insurance rates, Dallas said.

Plus, going the speed limit can really save you money. “Your car’s fuel efficiency begins to rapidly decrease at speeds over 60 mph,” Dallas said. “Your own lead foot can lower your gas mileage by 5 percent around town and as much as 33 percent at highway speeds,” he said.

The speed limit along Interstate 85 in Coweta County is 60 mph because of construction.

“For all those high-risk drivers who don’t seem to care if speed is a killer on our roads, maybe it matters if it’s murder on their wallets,” Dallas said.

“We already know driving the speed limit saves lives and it saves gas. Why not do both this Labor Day?”

Article by Sarah Kay Campbell

Georgia DUI Laws

Cherokee County Georgia -Police Arrest Man for Fifth DUI Offense

WOODSTOCK, Ga. — A Cobb County man faces his fifth arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to Cherokee County Police, 37-year-old Mark Douglas registered a blood alcohol content of point-47 – five times the legal limit. In Georgia, a driver is considered intoxicated if the individual exceeds the limit of point-oh-eight.

Douglas was arrested Tuesday in a parking lot. An officer said he was amazed Douglas was “still conscious.”

Police said Douglas was first arrested for DUI 18 years ago. He was placed in jail and awaits a Sept. 23 court date.

Article form

Driving Under the Influence in GA, Need Legal Help?

Woman In Receipt of Red Light Ticket in GA Wasn’t There At The Time…

A Florida grandmother received a red light camera ticket in the mail from Atlanta Georgia, notifying her of a violation, caught on camera. The only problem with this ticket is that she hadn’t visited the state of GA for over 35 years, and the photo that was sent along with the ticket showed a black pontiac and Evelyn Singer owns a white Acura! The name, address and vehicle on the ticket were, however, correct.

How often this type of “mix-up” seems to occur isn’t easy to research, as many consumers probably do not bother to examine the photo carefully if the accompanying information regarding the vehicle and owner is correct. The quaity of the red light camera photos can sometime be “questionable”, to say the least.

Singer, aka, the alleged red light runner, wasn’t going to just put up and pay the fine. She sent a certified letter and called Atlanta Georgia Traffic court numerous times attempting to get through to someone, even after being put on hold and repeatedly disconnected.

FInally, she was told that this would be taken care of and she would not be held responsible for the red light violation fine in Atlanta. Lesson to be learned here is to always confirm the photo and information, including alleged location of the violation, don’t just shut up and pay up!

Traffic ticket in Georgia?

New DUI Laws Top List of July 1 Changes

Drivers on Georgia roads will want to take note of changes in laws that make getting certain traffic citations become a felony charge after July 1.

According to Dublin Police Sgt. James Champion, the laws put more “teeth” into the consequences of some traffic violations.

“This is a major change to the DUI law,” said Champion. “The first and second DUIs are misdemeanors but on the third DUI it becomes a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and on the fourth DUI it is a felony with a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time.”

House Bill 336 also has another clause that will make driving records for DUIs count as far back as 10 years instead of five. This means those who have DUIs older than five years that under the current law would not have been counted, will find themselves with a driving record again.

Champion said the seriousness of DUI becomes more severe if the driver has a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle.

“That’s a separate DUI charge,” he said, explaining that there’s a separate charge for every child in the car under the age of 14 and the law will not allow the tickets to count as one. For example, a driver with three children under the age of 14 in the vehicle could face a felony DUI charge punishable by fines and jail time as well as a permanent record.

Senate Bill 55 leaves no room for a person to drive with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. The only exception to this law is wine. Champion said if a bottle of wine was opened at a restaurant it must be resealed by the restaurant and the dated receipt attached to it in order to transport it home. This does not apply to beer or liquor.

“If you do not meet those requirements then you will be charged with open container,” he said.

Driving without a license will be costly under any circumstances.

“If you get caught driving without a license normally the fine was $115. Now it’s over $600,” he said.

A citation for driving without a license under the new law requires the person to be fingerprinted and that information kept by the National Criminal Information Center. He said the only exception is if a person is driving on an expired license. In that case the driver will be cited and required to get the license renewed.

Leaving the scene of an accident is never a good idea, especially since the new laws will add stiffer charges to those who do.

“They must do everything possible to get aid if somebody is hurt,” said Champion of those who are involved in an accident. “If they leave the scene and a person dies they can be charged with vehicular homicide which has a prison sentence of no less than three years and no more than 15 years.”

He said even if a driver may think a person is not injured he is obligated to stop and make sure.

“How do you know if somebody is hurt unless you get out and check,” he said.

Don’t even think of telling a judge an appearance wasn’t made in court because there was no notice of a court date.

“When you get that traffic citation that is your service notice,” said Champion, adding all City of Dublin tickets have a date the ticket has to be paid or the person has to appear in court.

“If you fail to take care of that ticket on or before the court date your license will be suspended, and when you get caught driving on a suspended license you’ll be cited for driving with a suspended license,” he said.

Champion said the new laws leave no room for drivers to play around when it comes to not showing up in court.

“You don’t need any note. You know your license could be suspended,” he said, adding the laws are “putting some teeth back into” the consequences for violators.

Story by Stephanie Miller

Dublin Courier Herald Online

Georgia DUI Laws

Latest Arrest Interrupts Off Season Serenity

And you thought it was going to be a quiet, uneventful summer.

Off season serenity was interrupted once again as Jeremy Lomax became the fourth Georgia football player to get arrested this year. Lomax, a senior who is battling for a starting job at defensive end this fall, was pulled over on the 10 Loop in Athens for speeding. He was going 80 in a 55. As is routine, the cop asked Lomax if he had any weapons in the car. Lomax, described in police reports as polite and compliant, told the officer he had an unloaded gun underneath his seat. The officer retrieved a Glock 40, confiscated it and Lomax was arested for speeding and possession of a concealed weapon and hauled off to jail.

So that’s four Bulldogs so far that have run afoul of the law. Fullback Fred Munzenmaier (underage possession of alcohol, standing in roadway) and defensive back Donovan Baldwin (DUI) were arrested in January. They were suspended two and one games, respectively (Muzenmaier got two for smarting off at the police). Starting offensive guard Clint Boling was arrested in May in Alpharetta for DUI but he refused field tests and proclaims his innocence, so his punishment has not been determined.

In so far as we can tell, Lomax will be subjected to similar discipline. Student conduct codes restrict weapons from campus but it’s unclear whether or not that extends to off campus. We don’t know yet the details of who’s gun it was or what Lomax was doing with it but that fact he didn’t receive any additional charges is probably a positive sign for him. So he’s probably looking at one or two games max.

At the very least it would appear four players will miss the season opener against Georgia Southern and perhaps two or three will be out for Central Michigan, too. I’m told there’s no truth to the rumor this is why UGA schedules light at the beginning of the year. By the way, there still are three months before the season starts.

But seriously, I’m on record in this space stating that I don’t think such misdemeanor arrests makes Georgia a “thug program” no more than it does Florida or LSU or Tennessee or Georgia Tech. In fact, after those first two arrests back in January, I wrote then to expect at least one or two more before the season starts.

Such behavior is unfortunate and regrettable but it’s also commonplace among college students 18 to 22 years of age. I also know the Bulldogs harp and harp on their athletes on this subject and have one of the most stringent and iron-clad disciplinary policies around. There’s no way you can say Georgia is soft on discipline. These guys miss games and are subjected to physical punishment and counseling in addition to their legal ramifications.

The easy thing to do in this situation is to stand up on a soap box, point a finger at Georgia and college athletics and say, “shame on you; you’re recruiting bad people and letting them run amok.” But I simply don’t buy that.

Am I wrong? Are they wrong?

Article by Chip Towers, Atlanta Journal Constitution,

Georgia Traffic Laws

Fourth DUI Should Be Felony in Georgia

During debate on Georgia’s drunken driving laws, state Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) pointed out that if caught shoplifting four times in Georgia, the offender is eligible to be punished as a felon.

“But,” he said, “if you get caught six times with a DUI, you are not a felon.”

Georgia remains one of the few states without a felony DUI statute. House Bill 336, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Levitas (D-Atlanta), would change that.

It creates a felony-level DUI for repeat offenders who rack up four convictions within 10 years and mandates that repeat offenders serve at least 90 days in jail. Current law treats a fourth DUI as a misdemeanor.

As a former prosecutor, Levitas says he worried more about the dangers to the general public posed by drunken drivers than by murderers. “Sadly, in murders the people often knew each other, but there is a randomness to a DUI where a car suddenly comes across the lane of a highway and hits someone going to church or school.”

Levitas cites research that on average, people drive drunk 87 times before being caught in a DUI. “It’s appropriate for the fourth conviction to be a felony,” he says.

HB 336 not only increases fines and jail time, it requires a clinical evaluation and any necessary treatment upon a first conviction, which law does not now demand.

“My goal is that no one ever gets to a fourth offense,” says Levitas. “But after three times where you have been convicted and received treatment and evaluation, if there is a fourth time, we have to have public safety foremost in our minds.”

The legislation is endorsed by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the state District Attorney’s Association.

“If you have someone who is going to drive drunk and you’ve had them in state court three times already, it’s time to get their attention,” says Lowndes County District Attorney David Miller, on behalf of the association.

“We can actually change people’s lives with a bill like this.”

Maureen Downey, (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Georgia DUI Laws