Georgia License Suspension Rules
Being arrested for a DUI is a serious matter. You may be confused and worried as to what happens next. In Georgia, there are strict timelines associated with things you need to do or risk losing your driver’s license for up to 18 months. This doesn’t have to be the case.
At Carter Pilgrim, we’ve represented countless individuals who have been charged with DUIs and faced license suspension. DWI defense attorney Phil Pilgrim has experience on both sides of the table as the former Senior Assistant Solicitor-General in a courtroom that prosecuted over 4000 DUI and BUI cases a year. Having Phil on your side can be a significant advantage if you are facing a DUI and license suspension.
The Georgia 30-Day Rule
In the State of Georgia, if you refused to take a breath or blood test when requested by the officer or if you took that test and registered above the legal limit of a .08 (or .02 for drivers under age 21), the officer is required to start the ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION OF YOUR LICENSE. If proper action is not taken, your driver’s license will be suspended — even before you are convicted of DUI.
This is where prompt action on your part can mean the difference between having a license or taking the bus. Within 30-days of your arrest, you must file an appeal with the Department of Driver’s Services and request an Administrative Hearing to preserve your driving privileges. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this process doesn’t apply to you – it does. After anyone is arrested in Georgia for a DUI, the arresting officer must transmit a DDS 1205, along with your seized driver’s license to the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
If you fail to submit your letter within the 30-day period, you will face license suspension and there is no appeal process. This means no access to hardship permits that allow you to drive to work, school or even court.
While your 30-day letter is being considered, however, your license remains free from suspension.
New Ignition Interlocking Device Option
During this 30-day period, you may also request to have an ignition interlocking device installed on your vehicle. This device requires you to submit to a breathalyzer test before your vehicle will start. If you submitted to a breath, blood or urine test at the time of your arrest, this device may be left on your car for 120-days. If you refused the test, the device remains on for 12-months. If you are approved for an ignition interlock device, you must have it installed within 10-days.
DUI Process Overview
After your DUI arrest, you will be involved in the following process:
- 10-Day Permit (and your car may be impounded for up to 10-days)
- 30-Day Letter or mandatory suspension
- Formal Review Hearing – either win and have no suspension, or lose and have a 6-12 month suspension
- Hearing on the DUI itself – if you lose, even if you won your formal review hearing, you may face suspension of your license.
How Long Can My License Be Suspended?
When you are arrested, the officer may issue you a temporary 10-day driving permit. After that 10-day period (assuming you have not sent in your 30-day letter), your license may be suspended for a minimum of 180 days, if convicted. This suspension could be as long as a year for a first-time conviction. For a subsequent conviction that occurs within 5 years of your first conviction, your license may be suspended for 5 years.
Remember, an arrest does not necessarily mean a conviction, which is why having a skilled DUI attorney with experience in license suspensions is a great idea.
What Happens if I Drive on a Suspended License?
Georgia takes driving suspensions very seriously. If convicted of driving while your license is suspended, you could face severe penalties, even on a first offense, including:
- 2-days to 12-months in prison
- $500 to $1,000 in fines
- Additional 6-months of License Suspension, plus a $210 reinstatement fee
- Confiscation of driver’s license at the time of conviction
For second and third offenses, penalties include:
- A charge of high and aggravated misdemeanor
- 10-days of jail time
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,500
- An additional 6-month license suspension
- Reinstatement fees of $310-$410.
For fourth offenses, penalties include:
- 1-year to 5-years in prison on felony charges
- Fines between $2,500.and $5,000.
If your license has been suspended, do not risk your freedom and livelihood. Seek the counsel of the skilled license suspension attorneys at Carter Pilgrim.
License Suspensions After Conviction
If you are convicted of a DUI or drug offense, your license can be suspended. However, the term of this suspension can often be adjusted depending on the work that your attorney performs fon your case. Often, whether you receive a one-year license suspension with no permits to drive or a 120 days suspension with a permit is something your attorney can work through. It all depends on how information is sent into the Department of Driver’s Services and what happens during ALS proceedings as discussed above. This is why it is imperative to hire attorneys whose practice is focused on DUI Defense.
Defenses Available at Your Suspension Hearing
When you arrive at your hearing to appeal a license suspension, if the arresting officer does not appear, the suspension will not happen. That is why it is critical that you pay attention to the 30-day deadline for requesting an appeal.
If the officer does show up, a skilled DUI defense attorney will argue on your behalf and offer defenses applicable to your case. For example, your attorney may argue that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to arrest you on a DUI charge or that proper procedures were not followed.
If no defenses are available, or your attorney has other reasons to make a deal with the arresting officer, you may be able to come to an agreement to protect your driving privileges while resolving your DUI in a particular way, such as pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
Having an experienced license suspension attorney from Carter Pilgrim on your side when you are arrested for a DUI can give you an advantage. Let us help keep you on the road and able to provide for yourself and your family. Give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website today.