Posted in Atlanta DUI Law on September 19, 2019
Under Georgia law, your driver’s license could be suspended long before you go to court for a DUI (driving under the influence) charge. It’s called an Administrative Driver’s License Suspension, and if you do not act in time, you could lose your driving privileges for up to 12 months.
Keep in mind that Georgia has some of the toughest DUI penalties in the country. The sooner you contact a skilled DUI attorney, the better your chances are of having the matter resolved to your liking.
What Are the Steps Leading to a Georgia License Suspension?
There are certain steps to meet in order for the arresting officer to recommend your license suspension.
- The arresting officer charges you for DUI and reads Georgia’s law of implied consent to you.
- You refuse to provide a sample of your blood, urine, or breath for testing.
- You say nothing or present a sample that’s 0.8 positive for alcohol or is positive for illegal drugs.
After these steps, the officer will give you a DDS 1205 form from the Georgia Department of Driver Services. The form serves three purposes.
- It’s an official notice of the state’s intention to suspend your license.
- It replaces your plastic driver’s license (which the officer takes) and serves as your temporary driving permit.
- The form outlines your options, including providing instructions on your right to appeal at a special hearing.
The officer will provide you and the Department of Driver Services with a copy of the DDS 1205 form.
Remember, the DDS 1205 form is your temporary license, so you may want to place it in a zip-lock bag and keep it in your vehicle.
How Do I Check on the Status of My Georgia Driver’s License?
There are two ways to check to see if your driver’s license is suspended, and you’ll need to provide your license number for both.
You can check online with the Department of Driver Services, or you can call (404) 657-9300 and follow the prompts.
What Are the Timelines for Appealing My Georgia License Suspension?
Because time is of the essence, you need to pay attention to the timelines listed here.
To appeal the suspension during a hearing at the Georgia Office of Administrative Hearings, you have 30 days from your arrest date to submit a letter. You will also need to send a filing fee of $150 to the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
You should be able to have a hearing scheduled within 30 to 90 days.
Your other option is to apply for an ignition interlock device through the Department of Driver Services. The deadline for this option is also 30 days from your arrest date.
The requirements to have the ignition interlock device include:
- No prior DUI convictions within 5 years;
- No other suspensions or judgments against your driver’s license; and
If approved, you are not allowed to drive any vehicle without an ignition interlock device.
Keep in mind that the ignition interlock device must be installed for a minimum of 120 days, and if you choose to go that route, you are waiving your right to a hearing about the license suspension.
What Happens During the Appeal Hearing?
Your hearing will be before the Georgia Office of Administrative Hearings. Unless you are subpoenaed, you are not technically required to attend but can let your lawyer handle things on your behalf.
The three most common outcomes of appeal hearings for driver’s license suspension are:
- Suspension is dismissed because the arresting officer fails to appear;
- Your lawyer and the officer can reach an agreement to have the suspension dismissed; or
- A decision is made about whether there is enough evidence against you.
Even if you lose your appeal, the hearing can be useful. For example, your lawyer will have the opportunity to question the arresting officer. If the officer’s testimony changes at the criminal trial from what they stated at the hearing, your suspension could be overturned.
How Will I Get to Work?
After 30 days for a first-time DUI offense, you can apply for a driving permit for special uses. Examples include traveling to and from work, taking children to school, etc.
If, however, you refused to provide a sample of your blood, urine or breath for testing at the time of your arrest, you won’t be eligible for this special permit.
What Should I Do if I’m Arrested for a DUI in Georgia?
Your first step should be to contact an experienced DUI attorney. It’s important to act quickly because of the special deadlines in place. If you miss just one deadline, your options will become much more limited.