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When does an ignition interlock device become mandatory?

The first time you're convicted of driving under the influence, you could see between 10 days and 12 months behind bars, anywhere from $300 in fines to $1,000 and a driver's license suspension that lasts for 12 months. You will also need to do community service for at least one standard work week (40 hours) and you'll have to go through a program for drug and/or alcohol use. You may have to go to a substance abuse program, as well, though that is decided by a clinical evaluation.

As you can see, though the list of ramifications is extensive, it does not include an ignition interlock device. This device attaches to your vehicle and it contains a breath test that you must pass. If you do not, your vehicle will not start. It's not mandatory after one conviction.

That said, it becomes mandatory if this happens again. Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit of .08 percent has to be given an interlock device by the court. This will be installed after the license suspension has ended, as the person cannot drive again until the license is reinstated.

As such, it's important to note that the license suspension for a second conviction is 18 months long. The interlock device must be on the car for 12 months. That's a total of two and a half years with restrictions on your ability to drive.

With such long-lasting ramifications, it's important for those who have been arrested to know their legal options. Remember, everyone in Georgia deserves to have a fair trial.

Source: Guardian Interlock, "Georgia State Law," accessed Jan. 05, 2018

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