A Georgia DUI Arrest Triggers Two Different Court Proceedings and the Possibility of Two Separate License Suspensions:
After a Georgia DUI arrest, if your breath or blood alcohol registers over .08 within three hours of driving, or you refuse a state administered chemical test of your blood, breath or urine, Georgia DUI law requires that you be issued a Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Form 1205 as well at a Criminal Court summons or a Uniform Traffic Citation for DUI. The DDS Form 1205 is a 30 day temporary driver's license, but it is also a notice of intention to suspend your driver's license, as the arresting officer has sworn that he had reasonable grounds to arrest you for DUI. On the back of the DDS Form 1205 is a notice that you have ten business days (week days not to include weekends or holidays) to request a hearing to appeal the Administrative Suspension of your driver's license. If you send a hearing request letter to the DDS, a hearing will be scheduled with the Georgia Office of Administrative Hearings to determine if your administrative license suspension should be affirmed or rescinded. What this means is that you will have fight your DUI in an administrative court to prevent a pre-DUI conviction license suspension as well as in criminal court where a DUI conviction can result in another, different DUI license suspension. These two proceedings are handled in different courts by different judges. The Administrative DUI license hearing is governed by special rules, deadlines and legal issues. Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt has nothing to do with an Georgia DUI Administrative License suspension hearing. Click here for license hearing, implied consent rights and letter procedures O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.1
The Ten-Day Letter Deadline:
After receiving a DDS Form 1205 or the 8.5 by 11 inch yellow 30 day temporary driving permit, you have ten (10) business days to request hearing by sending an appeal letter to the Georgia Department of Driver Services with a $150 filing fee made payable to the Georgia Department of Driver Services. This letter will halt the administrative license suspension set for the 30th day after arrest until a hearing can be held by the Office of State Administrative Hearings.
We Will Send the Ten (10) Day License Letter for Free Even if You Don't Hire Us:
We will send the Ten (10) Day License Letter for free. If you hire us, we will send the letter certified with a return receipt requested for proof of delivery. Preparing and sending the letter is free, but we do no include the $150 filing fee for the Georgia Department of Driver Services that must sent with the letter. Even if you do not hire us, we will prepare the letter for you in your name, mail it to the DDS and give you a copy to mail by certified mail return receipt requested. If you do not hire us, this letter will be in your name only and we will not receive any notice of your driver's license hearing. It is your responsibility if you do not hire us to make sure you appear at your license hearing or your license will most likely be suspended administratively for your Georgia DUI arrest.
We Only Charge for the Administrative License Hearing if We Have to Appear:
While other firms charge a "flat fee" that includes a Georgia DUI Administrative License Suspension Hearing and any criminal court appearances, we believe that you should not have to pay for the administrative license suspension hearing unless we actually have to go. We break up our fees into a flat fee for the criminal proceedings and a flat fee for the administrative license hearing. In many Georgia DUI cases, the administrative license hearing never occurs either because the license was not taken, the proper DDS Form 1205 was not issued, it does not make economic or legal sense to appeal the administrative license suspension, a blue 180 day driving permit sticker was affixed to the ticket, or the criminal case is resolved prior to the administrative license suspension hearing occurring. It just isn't fair to charge for something that you may not have to do.
When Will the Administrative License Hearing triggered by the Ten (10) Day Letter Occur?
The Administrative license suspension hearing usually occurs between 30 and 90 days after the arrest. In some cases, the license hearing cane be delayed in excess of six months. It is necessary in some instances to obtain an extension of your driving permit from the Georgia Department of Driver Services while you await an administrative license suspension hearing.
The Goal is to Have the Administrative Suspension Dismissed or "Rescinded" Before it Goes into Effect:
The Administrative License Suspension hearing determines whether the DUI defendant's driving privileges will be suspended prior to a conviction of DUI in criminal court. A conviction for DUI in criminal court carries other additional license suspension provisions in addition to the administrative license suspension. At the administrative license suspension hearing one of three things can happen: (1) the Administrative License Suspension can be "rescinded" or dismissed by the failure of the arresting officer to appear; (2) your attorney and the arresting officer can enter into an agreement to "rescind" or dismiss the administrative license suspension; or (3) a hearing will be held to determine if the arresting officer can present sufficient evidence of the need suspend your driver's license administratively for a DUI arrest.
The Administrative License Suspension Hearing is Civil in Nature: A DUI Defendant does not Necessarily Have to Appear:
A DUI Defendant is not required to show up at an Administrative License Suspension hearing as it is a civil proceeding and the DUI defendant's presence is not required unless he or she is subpoenaed. We generally advise clients that they do not have to appear, but we must be given the authority to negotiate a dismissal of the administrative license suspension hearing, or the client needs to be available by cell phone immediately for consultation regarding the administrative license suspension negotiations.
How An Administrative License Hearing Can Be Used for Your Benefit:
An Administrative license suspension hearing is an excellent opportunity to depose or question the arresting officer prior to trial without the presence of a prosecutor in order to create a record or transcript of the arresting officer's testimony. This can be used to impeach the officer if he changes his testimony at trial and to read between the lines of the police report and video.
What Happens if You Lose the Administrative License Suspension Hearing?
If you lose, you generally suffer the license suspensions that come with a DUI conviction. If you blew or gave blood, on a first offense you would have your license suspended for a minimum of 30 days with the ability to obtain a limited permit to drive to work, at work, from work, to the doctor, from the doctor, and to school and from school. After 30 days on a first administrative license suspension, if you blew or gave blood or urine, you may reinstate your license after attending 20 hours of DUI School and paying $210.00 license reinstatement fee to the Georgia Department of Driver Services. If you refused a breath, blood or urine test, for a first DUI conviction in five years you will lose your license for 1 year with no work permit until either the elapse of one year, you are acquitted or found not guilty of DUI, or have your DUI reduced to reckless driving. On a second DUI conviction in five years, you lose your license administratively for 1 year with no work permit until either the elapse of one year, at which point you have to have a breath test device installed in your car for six months, you are acquitted or found not guilty of DUI, or have your DUI reduced to a lesser charge. On a third or greater DUI conviction in five years, you lose your license administratively for 2 years with no work permit until either the elapse of two years, at which point you have to have a breath test device installed on your car for six months, you are acquitted or found not guilty or have your DUI reduced to a lesser charge.
George C. Creal, Jr. is a trial lawyer with 18 years of courtroom experience. He is one of only 6 Atlanta DUI lawyers with both an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale.com and a 10.0/10.0 Superb rating on Avvo.com. He has over 100 "not guilty" verdicts under his belt and has forged indispensable relationships with police, judges and prosecutors all over the State of Georgia in order to benefit his clients' defense. George Creal Attorney Profile+