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An ugly seven-car crash in Georgia over the July Fourth weekend led to six DUI arrests and sent two people to the hospital with serious injuries.
The chain-reaction crash occurred on Interstate 75 south of Atlanta about 4 a.m. Friday. Southbound lanes were blocked for six hours.
No one was killed, but five of the seven drivers have been charged with DUI, Atlanta's WSB-TV reports. A sixth driver will also face DUI charges after he's released from the hospital.
So what triggered the accident?
According to Clayton County police, the initial crash happened when a car hit a pedestrian who was walking on I-75. A "domino effect" followed as other drivers encountered the crash scene.
The unidentified pedestrian was taken to the hospital in critical condition. It's not clear why the pedestrian was walking on the highway, but police say the pedestrian will be cited for it.
In Georgia, a citation for being a pedestrian in a roadway is punishable by fines of about $155.
The allegedly drunken drivers, however, are facing much more serious charges.
DUI laws vary state by state, but generally involve fairly harsh penalties such as license suspension, expensive fines, driver-education classes, and maybe even an ignition interlock installation requirement.
Georgia's DUI penalties involve a minimum license suspension or revocation of up to one year for a first offense, and up to five years for a second or third offense. There is also a 120-day "hard" suspension rule, with the opportunity to install a ignition interlock device for the remainder of the suspension time (usually up to two to three years total).
An ignition interlock device is a contraption that the offender has to pay to get installed in his car. It requires blowing into it before starting the vehicle to ensure the driver has not been drinking.
Additionally, Georgia's DUI laws also require mandatory alcohol education, and possibly assessment and treatment. Vehicle confiscation, depending on the circumstances, is possible as well.
The DUI histories of the six drivers charged with DUI in Friday's chain-reaction crash were not immediately known. If they're convicted, their prior DUIs will be considered during sentencing.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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