KEENAN RICHARD HOWARD

ATTORNEY AT LAW

Criminal Defense (DUI focus), Civil Litigation, Divorce, Real Estate, Trusts and Estates, Banking Law 

 

The Law Offices of Keenan Richard Howard, LLC represents clients across Middle Georgia including the cities of Milledgeville, Athens, Augusta, Macon, and Sandersville, as well as The University of Georgia and Georgia College and State University. 

Georgia Legislative Session 2015

Since January, several bills (HB 42, HB 205 and HB 283) have been proposed in the Georgia House that relate to DUI law and license suspensions that are worth monitoring.  

HB 42 is called the Jordan Griner Act and was proposed by Earnest Smith of the 125th District. The bill would increase the period of mandatory confinement for first DUI convictions from ten days to thirty days.  The bill provides, however, that the judge shall probate at least a portion of that jail sentence. Currently, all of the jail time for a first conviction may be suspended, stayed or probated by the judge except for a 24 hour mandate when the offender's alcohol concentration is above 0.08 grams. The proposed bill deletes the language of the current law that allows a judge to suspend, stay or probate all the time except for the 24 hour BAC mandate and replaces that portion by providing that the judge shall probate at least a portion of the jail sentence.  The bill would also do away with 4 for 1 work detail credit for first time DUI offenders.  

 HB 205 was proposed by Tom Rice of the 95th district and would require installation of an ignition interlock device for a first DUI offense by any driver who refuses testing pursuant to O.C.G.A 40-5-67.1 or 40-5-153 or who has a blood alcohol concentration above 0.15 grams.

Both HB 42 and HB 205 propose harsher potential punishments for first-time DUI offenders than are currently in place.  

HB 283 was proposed by several representatives, including Regina Quick of the 117th District in Athens. The bill would exempt misdemeanor marijuana convictions from the license suspension requirements currently in place for Title 16 offenses. Currently, a guilty plea to misdemeanor possession of marijuana can result in a license suspension if the person does not plead no lo or plead under the Title 16 first offender act.

Celebrate Valentine's Day Safely

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day when many people throughout Georgia plan on celebrating with their respective loved ones by going out to have a nice meal at a restaurant or bar, and maybe a drink or two.  Whether it be in Milledgeville, Sandersville, Athens, Augusta or Macon, if you plan on having one drink too many and you want to avoid a DUI, plan ahead and have a sober driver.  A cab ride, sober friend or designated driver will help get you home safely.

And of course, buckle up!  The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety reminds everyone on Valentine's Day, as with any other day, to use your seat belts.  A reference to Georgia's seat belt laws has been provided on the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety site.

In other news, a recent Gwinnett Daily Post article highlights a downward trend in DUI convictions in Georgia and debates the reasons.  Among other reasons, an increase in the number of people refusing to take the State breath test may account for some of the drop as such refusal cases make it harder for prosecutors in some jurisdictions to obtain DUI convictions.  The article also discusses MADD's preference to have Georgia enact a law requiring first-time DUI offenders to be required to install an ignition locking device in their vehicle. 

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