If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia, the arresting officer will inform you of the implied consent rights. Georgia implied consent law means that in receiving a driver’s license, you are deemed to have given consent to having your breath, blood, or urine tested.
Refusal will result in loss of driving privileges and administrative suspension of your Georgia driver’s license. The administrative suspension is different than the suspension you will receive if convicted of DUI in Georgia. It is a civil action against someone’s driver’s license or privilege to drive. According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, 5,428 administrative license suspensions resulted from DUI arrests in 2018. This is the beginning of a complicated process that may involve a ALS hearing.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, consult with an experienced DUI lawyer right away. Your lawyer may review the facts of your case, explain your options, and defend you at the hearing.
What Is the Implied Consent Law?
The police officer must initiate an administrative license suspension hearing if:
- You refuse to take the chemical test as requested, or
- You do take the test and the results were at or above the state’s legal blood alcohol content limit (known as a “per se” violation)
Georgia’s implied consent law changed on July 1, 2017. The law provides that when you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, you are issued a DS-1205 form, which serves as a forty-five-day temporary driving permit. You have two options to choose from, but if you do nothing, at the end of forty-five days your Georgia Driver’s license will be suspended.
The first option is to request a hearing within 30 days. Or you can choose to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, instead of filing for an appeal of your license suspension. You only have 30 days after your arrest to apply for an ignition interlock. If you choose this option, you waive your right to pursuing a suspension appeal, so you should discuss the options with your attorney before making a decision. If your request is approved, you have ten days to have the device installed at an authorized device installation company.
The authorities may revoke your permit if you are convicted of a moving violation, if you have been found to have violated the terms of the limited driving permit, or you have been found to have tampered with the ignition interlock device.
What Is a ALS Hearing?
The purpose of a ALS hearing is to determine whether or not a person should have their driver’s license suspended after being charged with a DUI. Administrative License Suspension hearings are administrative proceedings and are entirely separate from and in addition to criminal proceedings. Issues considered in a ALS hearing include:
- Whether the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you actually drove while impaired
- Whether the arresting officer informed you of your implied consent rights/ the consequences of refusing to be tested
- Whether or not you refused to take a blood or breath test
- If the arresting officer administered the tests properly
- Whether your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08 percent or higher (for adults), 02 percent or higher (for drivers under 21) or .04 percent or higher (for commercial drivers)
- How well you performed on other field sobriety tests
- Whether the arresting officer followed correct legal procedures
- Whether someone was injured or died in a resulting accident
What Actually Happens at a ALS Hearing?
At a ALS hearing, the driver is informed of the legal grounds for the action. The driver has the opportunity to review the evidence and to present evidence to challenge the department’s action.
The officer may fail to appear at the hearing. If that happens, the judge or administrative officer will dismiss your case, and overturn your driver’s license suspension. However, even if this happens, you may still lose your license if convicted of DUI in criminal court.
If both sides show up, the parties may try to negotiate an agreement. In that situation, get advice from your lawyer before entering into an agreement.
If both sides appear but are not able to negotiate an agreement, the hearing will proceed. Most hearings take one or two hours. The hearing may give your attorney a good opportunity to learn more about the case. After the conclusion of the hearing, the judge or administrative officer decides to uphold, modify or set aside the ALS action.
Can I Get a Restricted Driver’s License?
Even if your driver’s license is suspended, your attorney may be able to help you obtain a restricted license. If you refused to provide a sample of your breath, blood, or urine upon arrest, then you will not be eligible for a license permit. You are only able to obtain a limited permit if it is your first Administrative License Suspension (ALS). If it’s your second license suspension, you will not be eligible for a limited permit at all.
How Long Will the Suspension Last?
There are two types of suspensions. One arises from an administrative, or ALS hearing. The other arises from a DUI conviction.
A first administrative suspension is for 30 days. For a second administrative license suspension, the period is 18 months. For a third or subsequent license suspension, the law suspends your driving privileges for five years.
If the court finds you guilty of a DUI, the license suspension period is 120 days. For your second criminal DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for 18 months. For your third DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for five years. For a fourth or subsequent conviction, depending on the facts, the case may be a felony.
Why Do You Need Schnipper Law’s Atlanta ALS Hearing Attorney?
The primary purpose of a ALS hearing is to help you keep your driving privileges. If you have been arrested or are facing a DUI charge, consult Schnipper Law to represent you right away. You have many important decisions to make. Your attorney will explain your legal options and work to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. For more information or a free case evaluation, call Schnipper Law at (404) 545-5845 or contact us online as soon as possible.