Lawmaker wants first time DUI offenders behind bars for a week

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News12 First at Five/ Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) -- First time DUI offenders could be facing more jail time if one State Representative has his way.

Representative Earnest Smith will introduce the Jordan Griner bill next month to the Georgia General Assembly.

Smith says the bill gives judges the option of putting first time offenders behind bars for five days.

One lawyer is not so sure it will stop people from drinking and driving.

"We need a wow. We want people to understand this is really serious business," Rep. Smith said.

Next month Representative Earnest Smith will introduce a bill in honor of Jordan Griner. Griner was an intern to former Governor Sonny Perdue when he was hit and killed back in 2010 by 26-year-old Christa Scott.

Scott was convicted of wrongful death and driving under the influence.

"It's truly tragic. He was a young man from right here. It's not Republican or Democrat. Jordan Griner was white, Republican from Hepzibah. It's not about color," said Rep. Smith.

Right now there's already a 48 hour mandatory sentence for first time DUI offenders. Smith wants to add five days which could give someone a week behind bars, if they're convicted of drinking and driving.

"We want to get something on the books that will ensure everyone that gets stopped for a DUI. We want them to know you will get something other than what you've typically been getting," said Rep. Smith.

"It's the individual circumstances of the case that should define the sentence," said Attorney Vic Hawk.

Hawk says he's won hundreds of cases in his 35-year career. He says first time DUI's cost people anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000.

"In addition, to fines it will generally cost you $1,750, if you're found guilty. Your insurance will go up three times as soon as you get a DUI. There's tremendous consequences," said Hawk.

One lawmaker is pushing for a tougher sentences to keep the memory of Jordan Griner alive.


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