If you get arrested for a DUI in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Driver Services will automatically suspend your license for a year or longer. It may not seem fair, but they can suspend your license even before you had your chance to challenged the conviction. The Department of Driver Services (DDS) will automatically suspend a driver's license if they test above the per se limits for alcohol, or if they refuse to submit to a chemical test. What makes it even more frustrating, is that you have to make a formal request for an administrative license suspension (ALS) hearing within just 10 days.
You can request the ALS hearing on your own, but before you decide to handle everything yourself, you need to understand what's at stake. Not properly requesting an ALS hearing, or not timely requesting an ALS hearing will result in a suspended license. Even if you properly request an ALS hearing, you will need to present your case to the administrative law judge, or risk losing your license. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can advise you of all the potential risks and penalties associated with ALS hearings.
The first step to requesting an ALS hearing, is making sure it is formally requested within ten business days. If not, you have waived the hearing. The hearing request requirements and procedures are provided on the reverse side of the yellow DS 1205 form the arresting officer should have provided. It provides that a hearing must be requested in writing include all your contact information, license information, name and addresses of anyone who may testify, a statement of facts on the case, and the type of relief you are looking for. In addition, it must include the administrative fee of $150.
In preparing for the hearing request, and before the formal hearing, you need to understand what issues you will present to the administrative law judge during the ALS hearing, including supporting evidence. This may require a lot of time researching issues such as reasonable grounds to arrest a driver, arresting procedures, implied consent, implied consent refusal, chemical testing of blood, breath or urine, and proper testing procedures. Before you decide to handle the ALS hearing on your own, consider what you might be risking. In most cases, an experienced DUI defense lawyer who has focused their practice on defending people who have been arrested for a DUI, will be able to file your ALS hearing request, represent you during the ALS hearing to make sure you are treated fairly.
Filing and Defending ALS Hearings
You need to carefully consider carefully whether you want to risk losing your license without having an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer represent you during the ALS hearing. This hearing is distinct from the criminal charge, and both need to be taken into consideration before deciding how important it is to have a skilled DUI lawyer on your side, to defend your license. If you or a loved one have been arrested for driving under the influence in Georgia, call me anytime, and I will make sure you are treated fairly by the courts and the state, and you keep your license to drive.