GEORGIA’S ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION DUI CASE V. CRIMINAL DUI CASE
DID YOU KNOW THAT AFTER MOST GEORGIA DUI ARRESTS, THERE ARE 2 CASES THAT THE DEFENDANT MUST BE PREPARED FOR?
In most Georgia DUI cases, there are 2 separate proceedings which you must be prepared to defend against. Most people are generally familiar with the criminal proceedings. The criminal case will take place in a criminal court, and the defendant will be required to appear in a state court, a municipal court, a probate court, or superior court to answer the criminal accusation or indictment against them. In the criminal DUI case, the prosecutor acting on behalf of the State of Georgia attempts to have the Court and the Judge put you in jail, place on you on probation, fine you, make you do community service, or complete other conditions.
Generally, a case will originate in a municipal court when the arrest is made by a city police officer, although a defendant has the right to bind the case over to a state or superior court for motions, trial, and plea negotiations. In those counties that do not have a state court, cases made by a Georgia State Patrol officer or deputy will usually start in the probate court, although the defendant may bind the matter over to the superior court of that county. A handful of counties have a “recorder’s court,” and in those courts a defendant may also bind his case over to the state court for disposition.
The second case resulting from a DUI arrest is the administrative license suspension (ALS) proceeding. The State of Georgia will suspend your license for one year if you refused to submit to a chemical test for intoxicants. If you submitted and the test showed a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or more, your license will be suspended for one year if it has not been administratively suspended within the past five years. However, after thirty days you can reinstate your license with proof of completion of DUI school paid payment of the reinstatement fee of $210.00 ($200.00 by mail). The period of suspension increases to eighteen months for a second ALS suspension within five years and five years for a third within five years, although in the latter instance a probationary license may be available after two years.
The suspension begins thirty days after you are served with notice unless you request an ALS hearing within 30 days after your date of arrest. This notice is usually given at the jail or police department where you were taken after you were arrested. The deadline for requesting a hearing is hidden on the back of the “Sworn Report of the Arresting Officer” so it is frequently overlooked by our clients who have found themselves in this unfamiliar and stressful situation.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE FROM GOING INTO SUSPENSION FOLLOWING A DUI ARREST IN GEORGIA?
The only way to prevent the license suspension from becoming effective on the 30th day following arrest is to request an administrative hearing within ten business days of the service of notice. If this hearing is not requested within that time, there is nothing that can be done to prevent the license suspension. Once the hearing is requested, it will put on hold any suspension action until the hearing is held and a ruling is made. The actual proceedings of the Office of State Administrative Hearings and appeal rights are covered separately.