Anne Bishop, 539 Green Street NW Gainesville, GA 30501 email@gainesvillegalawyer.com (770) 783-5296

A. Bishop Law, LLC

Georgia DUI Drivers License Suspension Issues: A Step by Step Guide

Due to the serious nature of the offense of Driving Under the Influence, the State of Georgia has established many laws that will suspend a person convicted of, or even arrested for, DUI. In this article, we will discuss these issues in the order in which a driver may potentially face them.

 

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Implied Consent/ Breathalyzer

After a person is arrested for DUI, Georgia Law requires that the officer read a short statement that the legislature has created:

Georgia law requires you to submit to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to the required testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the required state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which tests) under the implied consent law?

This language is confusing, especially when handcuffed on the side of the road with your liberty in the balance.  What is also confusing is that the officer is asking the driver to agree to do something in the future.  Once the implied consent is read, then the officer takes the driver to the jail and then, at that point, the driver is to provide a breath sample in a machine (Intoxilizer).  Or, the officer takes the driver to the hospital to have blood drawn.  These tests can be done substantially after the reading of Implied Consent Warnings.

Refusal Suspension

Under Georgia Law a refusal to submit to a blood, breath or urine sample request results in a one year Georgia driver license suspension for a first time offender.  A refusal suspension is a suspension that does not allow for a work driver’s limited work permit that normally would allow a person to drive to and from work.

For this DUI license suspension to start the arresting officer will need to file and provide the driver with a Notice of Intent to Suspend.  This is a notebook size piece of paper that is usually yellow.

Please note that the Implied Consent tests are different than the Portable Breath Test (PBT/ Alco-Sensor).  The Portable Breath Test is a tool the officer uses in the screening process of Standard Field Sobriety Tests and in not an Implied Consent Test.  A statement from the driver of I already took your test is actually an Implied Consent refusal and can result in a driver license suspension.  Not answering or repeatedly asking questions can also be a refusal.

However, if the driver refuses the blood alcohol test at the jail, then the driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year on a first time refusal.

Over .08 Suspension

Under Georgia law if a driver has a test result of .08 or higher, then the officer can issue a notice of intent to suspend.  If this notice is not appealed and won at the Administrative Law Hearing, then a one year driver license suspension for a first time offender will result.  The good news is that this DUI license suspension does allow for a Work Permit and potential early reinstatement after certain conditions are met.

 

Notice of Intent to Suspend

If the State of Georgia wants to suspend a driver’s license prior to a conviction, the arresting officer needs to provide the driver with a notice of intent to suspend.  This is a notebook size piece of paper that is usually yellow.  The Notice explains the reason for the Suspension and on the back it provides the procedure for appealing the Notice of Intent to Suspend.

 

10 Day Letter

In order to not have the suspension go in to effect, an appeal will need to be filed within 10 days of the Notice.  The driver would need to follow the directions on the back of the Notice, outline the legal issues in question and request a hearing (It is advisable that you seek your attorney’s guidance in this procedure).  Effective spring of 2010 a check or money order for $150.00 will need to be enclosed.  (Many agencies have out of date forms and this change in the law may not be reflected in the Notice of Intent to Suspend provided to the driver.)  It is recommended to send the letter certified, return receipt or via overnight delivery.

Appeal Hearing

The Office of State Administrative Hearings will send a hearing date for the officer and the driver to appear and present evidence.  At the hearing, the judge will call out to determine if both parties are present.  If one party is not present, then the other side usually automatically wins.  If both parties are present, the judge gives them an opportunity to discuss the matter and potentially reach a resolution.  If no agreement is reached, a hearing will occur in which the officer will testify about the arrest of the driver and related DUI evidence.  The driver has an opportunity to ask the officer questions and present the driver’s own evidence.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will either rule from the bench or send out a written decision.  If the driver loses, then the suspension goes into effect.  If the driver wins, then the suspension is lifted.  This hearing does not resolve the criminal charges or a post conviction suspension.

Criminal Charge Suspension

If the driver pleads guilty or is convicted of DUI, then that results in a suspension of the driver’s license.  This ga license suspension is regardless of whether the ALS Hearing was dismissed or not.  This Criminal Suspension does provide the driver with credit for any time the driver’s license was actually suspended.  This suspension is not on top of the administrative suspension, but in conjunction with it.

Conclusion

DUI cases have both a criminal defense issues and a driver license suspension issues that should be analyzed and discussed with a Georgia DUI Attorney.  There are many pitfalls for those that are not familiar with GA DUI laws and DUI license suspension issues.  It is always a good idea to at least talk to a Georgia defense lawyer about your case and see if the lawyer can assist.

If you are facing a charge that could result in a license suspension in North Georgia or Hall County, you should consider consulting a lawyer that is knowledgeable in the field. This helps to provide that best possible defenses and make the more well informed decisions regarding your rights and options when considering how best to maintain your driver’s license and avoid suspension.

At A. Bishop Law, our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney welcomes questions on Criminal Defense laws, Traffic Laws and Georgia DUI laws. Please Call or Email us with any questions.

About the attorney:  Anne Bishop is a Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various DUI / DWIMarijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters.  The law office of A. Bishop Law can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, OakwoodFlowery Branch), Jackson County  (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.

This article and/or video should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes. Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.

Anne Bishop
A. Bishop Law, LLC
Attorney at Law
539 Green Street NW
Gainesville,Georgia
30501
US
Phone: (770) 783-5296