Instead of increasing punishments for drunk drivers, a new Georgia law went a different route and made changes that actually help convicted drunk drivers.
The new law by no means lets drunk drivers off the hook, but it does let some of them get behind the wheel earlier than before and the reason is to help them actually get to the treatment they need.
The idea of the new law is to keep a possible mistake from ruining a person's life.
Rebecca Kozycki is an attorney who specializes in DUI cases.
"We don't want people ending everything because they got a DUI and they're just rolling into one failure after another," said Kozycki.
The changes help avoid that snowball effect by giving drunk drivers a permit after only 120 days. That driving permit would allow them to go to work, school, the doctor like before, but now the new law also allows them to drive to treatment and community service.
Supporters of the law said Atlanta's mass transit system just couldn't make that all happen so driving was necessary.
"We want them to be successful. We want them to get educated, get rehabilitated, and this will make it easier to do that," said Kozycki.
But those against the law said it shouldn't make anything easier.
"I think that enables people to go out and do it again," said Rob Bennett.
"You are taking someone's life into your hands when you shouldn't be. You know about it before you get behind wheel of car. I don't think you should make it easier on them at all," said Brad Buzzell.
But that debate is over now that it's 2013. Supporters can only hope it actually works.
"With these changes in place and with enforcement up, I believe we'll see some positive changes here in Georgia," said Kozycki.
A few law enforcement agencies said they're not taking one side or the other because for them nothing changes. They said if they catch people driving drunk, they'll continue to arrest them.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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