After you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence, what do you do?
Not many people know that there are two worlds when dealing with a DUI: A license world and a criminal world. One often influences the other, which, in turn, can influence your decisions.
Under Georgia law, when you are arrested for a suspected DUI, not only do you go to jail, but, in most cases, the your license is confiscated by the arresting officer. It is at the officer's discretion to confiscate a license for testing over .08 Blood Alcohol Content or refusing all testing. If the officer chooses, they may confiscate your license and hand you a yellow "DS-1205" form. Th 1205 form explains your license suspension and options to appeal a suspension.
Once you bond out of jail, the next step for you is to call an attorney who is knows the most up to date DUI laws.
Before July 1, 2017, if you were arrested for a DUI, then you could either appeal your license suspension or do nothing (resulting in a license suspension). For DUI arrests occurring after July 1, 2017, Georgia laws changed allowing a third option. The following options are for individuals are 21 years old or older and do not have an active license suspension.
Option One: Do nothing. If you are unaware of the implications of failing to act, and you don't consult with an attorney, you may have your license suspended on the 46th day following the arrest. If it is your 1st DUI conviction in 5 years, you will only have the ability to obtain a permit after you dispose of the criminal case. If it is your 2nd or more, then suspensions are much harsher. If you beat the DUI, your license privileges are restored. This process will take anywhere between 60 days and 2+ years depending on the jurisdiction.
If this is your first DUI ever, you may able to request an "ALS Permit" from a DDS office, which you must renew every 30 days. This permit limits one's driving privileges.
Option Two: Appeal. You can file an appeal of the Administrative License Suspension (ALS). You must mail an appeal with a $150 check or money order to the Department of Driver Services with in 10 days of your arrest. An appeal request will put the suspension of your driving privileges into "pending status" until the DDS receives an outcome of the appeal. This means that you have the same driving privileges until an adverse outcome from a hearing by an administrative law judge.
An appeal is usually scheduled within 60 days of receipt of your appeal request. You will receive a 90 day permit allowing you to drive until the hearing has been heard. In some cases, you can have the DUI reduced, prior to the ALS hearing, which would reinstate your license privileges and negate the suspension and appeal.
This option will allow you drive with the same freedoms as you did prior to the arrest while your appeal is pending. However, this option is where the license world and the criminal world influence each other. If you refused chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine), you can either have a hearing of your appeal or attempt agree with the officer to dismiss the suspension with the condition that you enter a plea to the DUI. The good side to a joint withdrawal of the suspension and appeal is that there is no longer an administrative license suspension. The bad side is that you will likely be forced to enter a plea whether to DUI or other charge or the agreement can be used against you at trial. The decision to plea to a DUI in order to preserve your license is an extremely tough decision, and must be made on a case by case basis with counsel.
Option Three: Ignition Interlock. This option is new to Georgia law. For this option, you must have the ignition interlock device installed and be operational, and have a permit issued by the Georgia DDS. The ignition interlock permit would allow you to drive for limited purposes only in Georgia.
To obtain an ignition interlock device, you must request one within 30 days of the arrest date at a DDS center. While there you will need to complete and submit a Limited Driving Permit Application.
If you refused testing, you must maintain the ignition interlock for 1 full year regardless of the the outcome in your criminal case. If you submitted to testing, you must maintain the interlock device for 4 months, but this requirement may be impacted by the outcome of the criminal case - meaning that if your DUI is reduced, the ignition interlock can be removed earlier than 4 months.
There are costs involved for an interlock device and requires monthly monitoring visits to the interlock provider. Additionally, once the period for the ignition interlock monitoring is complete, a "removal fee" of $100 is to be paid to the DDS.
Obviously, these are very tough decisions to make. You need to meet with and retain a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through these waters. Each person has different priorities that must be considered in each case, and decisions are often different for each case.
Our firm listens to your goals, recommends a course of action that we think is best and realistic, then shepherds you through the entire case from start to finish. If you need help in your case, feel free to call our firm.