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Official Opinion 95-28

Official Opinion 95-28

June 7, 1995
To: 

Commissioner
Georgia Department of Public Safety

Re: 

Under O.C.G.A. ¿ 42-8-112(b), the Department of Public Safety is required to deny reinstatement of a driver's license or issuance of a probationary license for failure to provide proof of the installation of an ignition interlock device only when the installation of such a device has been imposed as a condition of probation by a court in a county or municipality which has established a provider center as defined in O.C.G.A. ¿ 42-8-110(b).

You have requested my official opinion concerning the conditions under which the Department of Public Safety, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 42-8-112(b), is required to refuse reinstatement of licenses or refuse issuance of probationary licenses to persons who do not provide proof of installation of an ignition interlock device. Specifically, you have asked if the Department's responsibility under this Code Section is:

(1) limited to only those cases where the court has initially imposed a requirement of the installation of the device, (2) applied to all violators seeking reinstatement or issuance under [O.C.G.A. §§ 40-5-58 and 40-5-67.2] within the jurisdictions which have established local service provider centers, or (3) applied to all such violators statewide regardless of whether they were convicted in a jurisdiction which has established a local service provider center.

Based upon the language of the statute, it is my official opinion that the Department's responsibility is limited to those cases where the court has initially imposed a requirement of the installation of the device.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 42-8-110 et seq., courts in Georgia may require, when certain conditions are met, the installation of an ignition interlock device as a condition of probation for certain individuals convicted of driving under the influence in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391. An "ignition interlock device" is a monitoring device which prevents a motor vehicle from being started without first determining the blood alcohol content of the driver. O.C.G.A. § 42-8-110(a). The ignition interlock laws apply under the following conditions: First, the county or municipality served by the sentencing court must have established a "provider center" for the purpose of providing and installing the ignition interlock devices, and the provider center has a functioning certified ignition interlock device available for use. O.C.G.A. § 42-8-110(c). Second, an individual must have been convicted of a second charge of driving under the influence within five years, in which case the court "may" order use of an ignition interlock device, or an individual must have a third or subsequent conviction for driving under the influence, in which case the court "shall require" use of an ignition interlock device. O.C.G.A. §§ 42-8-110(a), (b).

The responsibility and requirement on the part of the Department of Public Safety to deny reinstatement or issuance of a driver's license must be read in light of the limitations on the applicability of the ignition interlock laws. In fact, O.C.G.A. § 42-8-112(b), which sets forth the Department's licensing responsibilities under the ignition interlock laws, begins with the following limiting language:

If the court imposes the use of an ignition interlock device as a condition of probation on a person whose driving privilege is suspended or revoked, the court shall require the person to provide proof of compliance with such order to the court or the probation officer and the Department of Public Safety not later than the date on which such suspension or revocation concludes.

(Emphasis added.) The remaining requirements set forth in O.C.G.A. § 42-8-112(b) apply only if, as provided in the first sentence of this Code Section as quoted above, the court imposes the use of an ignition interlock device as a condition of probation.

Accordingly, it is my official opinion that, under O.C.G.A. § 42-8-112(b), the Department of Public Safety is required to deny the reinstatement of a driver's license or the issuance of a probationary license for failure to provide proof of the installation of an ignition interlock device only when the installation of such a device has been imposed as a condition of probation by a court in a county or municipality that has established a provider center as defined in O.C.G.A. § 42-8-110(b).

Prepared by:

LEONARD C. GREGOR, JR.
Assistant Attorney General