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GEORGIA DUI LAW:
A DUI Guy Interpretation of the 2001 Legislative Changes to Georgia DUI Law
By J. Michael Mullis, Attorney at Law, The DUI Guy
Georgia DUI Lawyer 1-229-245-0064
 
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DUI GUY SYNOPSIS OF THE 2001
LEGISLATIVE CHANGES TO GEORGIA DUI LAW

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE VERSION OF GEORGIA DUI LAW IN PLAIN ENGLISH

In House Bill 385, the 2001 Georgia Legislature modified Georgia DUI laws. The modifications took about 22 pages on the legislative website (Click Here to read the full text).

Unlike most pages on the DUI Guy website, this DUI Guy synopsis is written primarily for lawyers. I use some legal jargon and assume some legal sophistication on the part of the reader.

If you want to read the simplified changes to Georgia DUI law designed for non-lawyers, click on the "Georgia DUI Law" link (to your immediate left on the navigation bar). However, for all DUI lawyers and DUI lawyer wannabes, I hope this page is helpful.

PLEASE NOTE:

This is the FOURTH draft (Posted 04/25/01).  There are significant modifications from the third draft. Discard any printouts you downloaded prior to this update. Minor modification to clear up typos was done 05/13/01.

You will notice that most, if not all, hyperlinks are activated. If you have questions, comments, or gripes, click here.

Mike Mullis
The DUI Guy

THE GOVERNOR SIGNED THIS BILL ON APRIL 16, 2001.
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THIS SYNOPSIS REFLECTS THE VERSION OF HB 385 POSTED TO THE LEGISLATIVE INDEX AS OF MAY 2, 2001.
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ALL CHANGES TAKE EFFECT JULY 1, 2001

The links to the Code Sections will take you to the Georgia State web site. Modifications there might not be posted. Click Here to view the changes on the Legislative index.

Quick Reference:

  • Unlawful blood alcohol level for age 21 and over drops from 0.010 to 0.08.

  • Minimum jail time for second in five increases from two days to three days. Minimum community service increases from 80 hours to thirty days.

  • Minimum jail time for a third in five increases from ten days to fifteen days. Minimum community service increases from 120 hours to thirty days.

  • License suspension for second in five increases from ten months with a four month hard suspension to eighteen months with a twelve month hard suspension.

  • License plates on all cars owned by someone convicted of a second in five must be surrendered.

  • There is now an "Aggressive Driving" statute that carries six points. It is a misdemeanor of a High and Aggravated nature.

  • Passengers are now subject to the Open Container Statute.

  • The "Presumption" language of Code Section 40-6-392 has been replaced with "Inference" language.

40-5-7

This new statute creates a Blue Ribbon Panel comprised of 21 members to study special conditions, need, issues, and problems related to 1) young drivers, and 2) DUI drivers.

40-5-55

Consolidates language relating to DUI drivers constituting a direct and immediate threat to the welfare and safety of the general public.

40-5-57

Aggressive driving (see 40-6-397 below) carries 6 points.

40-5-67.1

Modifies the statutory language of the implied consent notice. For those under age 21 and having an alcohol concentration of .02 grams or more, it replaces the language "will be suspended and if you are convicted of having such an alcohol concentration, will be revoked" with the new language, "may be suspended for a minimum period of one year."

For drivers 21 or older, the per se .10 language is replaced with .08 language.

40-6-253
Open Container Statute

Defines what an alcoholic beverage is. Also defines an open alcoholic beverage container as a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and is open or has a broken seal or partially removed contents.

The passenger area of the vehicle is defined.

This statute now applies to persons in the passenger area of any motor vehicle on the roadway or shoulder of any public highway. An exception exists for the passenger areas of vehicles such as commercial buses and the living quarters of motor homes.

Only the person consuming or possessing the open container can be charged. A lone operator is presumed to be in possession.

40-6-391
The DUI Statute

Changes the per se level for persons 21 and over from .10 to .08.

Someone convicted of a second DUI within a five-year period must now do at least three days days in jail instead of two. The statute also provides that at least a portion of the sentence must be probated in order to subject the offender to conditions of probation relating to the ignition interlock devices (see 42-8-111 below). Minimum community service increases from eighty hours to thirty days for all offenders including those under 21 years of age.

Someone sentenced for a third in five DUI must now serve at least fifteen days rather than ten days, but a portion of the sentence must now be probated to subject the offender to conditions of probation relating to ignition interlock devices (see 42-8-111 below). As with a second offense within five years, minimum community service is 30 days rather than 120 hours.

40-6-392

The infamous "presumptions" language is changed to "inferences" language.  A trier of fact may now infer that a defendant was not under the influence if he tested .05 or less. Between .05 and .08, no inference exists. Since .08 is now a per se offense, the other presumption/inference language is moot.

As noted, the per se level is changed from .10 to .08 or more grams in the person's blood, breath, or urine.

Finally, in blood cases, the proper methods to establish the qualifications of the blood drawer are 1) certificate by the Secretary of State or Department of Human Resources, 2) testimony of the blood drawer him/herself, or 3) sworn  testimony of the drawer's supervisor or medical records custodian.

40-6-397
Aggressive Driving Statute (New)

Defines aggressive driving (see 40-5-57 above) as operation of a motor vehicle with intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person. It is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. Sounds like the prosecutor will have to prove specific intent.

42-8-111
Ignition Interlock

For those with a second or subsequent DUI conviction within a five-year period, the offender must have an IID installed on each vehicle registered to him/her. However, the court can exempt a person from having the device on all vehicles if the court determines that such installation would subject the person to undue financial hardship. If the court allows such exemption, it must notify the DPS which vehicle(s) are subject to installation of the IID.

The language requiring installation of an IID on any other vehicle operated by the offender was modified slightly, but remains essentially the same.

The former language giving the judge the authority to order that a person shall not be eligible for an IID was deleted as were two other related subsections.

42-8-112
Probation and the IID

When the IID is a condition of probation, the offender must provide proof of compliance to the court or probation officer and the DPS not later than 10 days after the date the offender first becomes eligible to apply for an IID limited permit. If the person is still on probation at that time, failure to comply without a showing of good cause will result in the revocation of probation.

VERY IMPORTANT: For a second in five DUI conviction, the six-month IID limited permit is not available until a TWELVE MONTH hard suspension is completed. H/V offenders must still have an IID for the first six months of their probationary licenses if the H/V suspension occurred due to two or more DUI convictions.

43-13-10

This statute is amended to allow any public or private secondary school to conduct driver training courses. This is important in light of new subsection (a.2) of 40-5-22, which requires driver training for any person who has not had a Class D driver's license.

40-2-136
Application for License Plates

This section provides that the license plates of all motor vehicles belonging to an offender convicted of a second or subsequent DUI within a five year period must be surrendered. No new plates will be issued until the offender either has a limited permit, a probationary license, or full reinstatement.

This section authorizes a hardship license plate in certain circumstances for the co-owner of the vehicle or family member. The hardship license plate shall be easily identifiable by law enforcement, but alone shall not constitute probable cause to stop the vehicle.

40-5-57.1

The driver's license of a person under age 21 who is convicted of hit and run, racing, attempt to elude, reckless driving or other 4 or more points violations, or who purchases alcohol, or convicted of DUI is now suspended rather than revoked.

In order for those under age 21 convicted of DUI to have their drivers license reinstated, they must comply with the requirements of OCGA Section 40-5-63. However, no limited driving permit is allowed.

A special note regarding those under age 21 with a second DUI offense. On the surface, it appears that, pursuant to Code Section 40-5-57.1 (b)(1)(B), the license can be reinstated after twelve months. However, (b)(2) appears to make reinstatement subject to Code Section 40-5-63. This should mean that the license cannot be reinstated for 18 months.

40-5-63

Reinstatement period for a second DUI within a five-year period is 18 months rather than 10.

40-5-67.2

An administrative suspension for a second in five DUI results in a three year suspension, but the reinstatement of full driving privileges cannot happen any sooner than 18 months rather than 10.

END OF 2001 LEGISLATIVE CHANGES SYNOPSIS

   

2001 Georgia DUI legislation. Attorney J. Michael Mullis, The DUI Guy, Georgia DUI Lawyer   

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