The Governor's Office of Highway Safety recently awarded the Dekalb County Police Department over $32,000 through the state-wide H.E.A.T. grant program. The goal of the program is to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths due to driving under the influence (DUI), speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Dekalb County Police Department will use the grant to develop and implement strategies to help reduce accidents due to unsafe and aggressive driving behaviors.
What is H.E.A.T.?
H.E.A.T. stands for "Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic." H.E.A.T. is a multi-jurisdictional task force that works towards reducing behaviors that are likely to cause car accidents, such as impaired driving and speeding. In addition to increasing police enforcement, the H.E.A.T. program also helps educate Georgia drivers on the dangers of aggressive and impaired driving and the need to wear seatbelts.
The H.E.A.T. program targets areas with the highest number of car accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Over a dozen Georgia county law enforcement agencies participate in the H.E.A.T. program, including the Dekalb County Police Department.
According to Governor's Office of Highway Safety data, Dekalb County has the second-highest number of fatal car accidents of any county in Georgia. Only Fulton County had more motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2015 (the latest year of data available from the Governor's Office).
More than half of the fatal car crashes in Dekalb County involved speeding or alcohol.
Dekalb County DUI Enforcement
The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety emphasizes that the state has a "zero tolerance" policy regarding DUIs. There is no such thing as getting a warning for DUI. Georgia police officers send impaired drivers to jail. Drivers charged with DUI may be released or asked to post bond in order to be released from jail, depending on the charge. Their driver's license may also be confiscated at that time.
While driving under the influence and speeding are always illegal in Dekalb County, local and state law enforcement agencies typically increase patrols and enforcement during the holiday season. Counties across Georgia will be increasing DUI and other traffic enforcement measures from December 15 through January 2.
A first-time DUI conviction in Dekalb County carries penalties of up to one year in jail, plus fines and a one-year suspension of driving privileges. Penalties for subsequent DUI convictions are more severe. Drivers can also face additional penalties if an accident or injury occurs, if there is a child in the car, or the driver is under 21.
Out-of-state drivers visiting friends or family over the holidays face particular challenges if they are arrested for DUI in Georgia. They can face criminal charges in Georgia and the loss of their driver's license in their home state, plus the inconvenience of having to travel back to Georgia to defend themselves.
A DUI arrest doesn't have to lead to a DUI conviction. An experienced DUI attorney can review your case and potentially get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed.
If you are arrested in Dekalb County for DUI over the holidays, contact a Dekalb County DUI lawyer as soon as possible.