New Administrative License Hearing Process for Georgia Drivers Accused of DUI

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 02, 2017 | 0 Comments

Effective July 1, 2017, Georgia drivers must now choose between filing an appeal of their license suspension or installing an ignition interlock device instead of the appeal. This Georgia DUI Information website will be discussing these changes for the next several months.  However, the highlights of the changes are as follows:

The Traditional Georgia ALS Hearing Process is Still Valid:

“The Georgia 30 Day Letter”

The traditional process of filing an appeal has not changed, except for the time periods.  Accused DUI drivers now have 30 calendar days to file an appeal or their license or privilege to drive in Georgia will be suspended on the 46th day.  Note, these are all calendar days, not business days.

In the case of a refusal, if the appeal is not filed, a person's license or privilege to drive in Georgia will be suspended for 12 months.  In the case of a person who has taken a breath test, the suspension is 30 days, and a person can get a permit to drive and reinstate after taking DUI School.

For second DUI offenses in Georgia, nothing has changed except the time period to file the appeal. For subsequent offenses, nothing again has changed accept the time period.

For our case where an out-of-state person gets a Georgia DUI, nothing again but the appeal period has changed.  Only a Georgia Driver's license holder can get an interlock permit.  

For our Georgia DUI Drivers Who Hold a CDL, we will recommend the traditional ALS approach because getting an interlock automatically downgrades their license to a regular license that does not allow for a person to drive a commercial vehicle. 

For our DUI Drivers Under the Age of 21, the traditional approach is the only way to handle the case, unless you are within 30 days of turning age 21, from the issue date of the DDS-1205.

For drivers who submit to the state-administered breath test, in most circumstances we will recommend the traditional approach because an interlock is a huge inconvenience and likely not necessary in these cases. 

A driver who chooses the traditional appeal process cannot later switch to a decision to get an interlock permit. 

The Ignition Interlock Approach:

For drivers who want to contest their case, the new options (with qualifications) are attractive.  Within 30 days of a person's arrest, they may get a permit from the Georgia Department of Driver's Services to install an ignition interlock on their vehicle.

If the driver is later convicted or acquitted of the DUI case, the interlock must, nevertheless, remain on their vehicle for the prescribed time. For those who choose this option, the hearing option is then waived.  In the event of a refusal to submit to testing, the interlock must be installed for 12-months and cannot be removed early, even if the underlying criminal case is dismissed or reduced to reckless driving

For those who take the breath test, the ignition interlock must be installed for 120 days, unless the underlying criminal case is reduced or dismissed during the first 120 days.  

Again, the new interlock process does not apply for person's who have had another DUI arrest in the past five years (as measured by the date of the arrest).

When choosing the interlock option, the Georgia driver must install the interlock on their vehicle and then go to the Department of Driver Services to get an interlock permit.  Both the installation of the interlock and receiving the permit must be completed within 30 days of a person's arrest.

Practice Notes:

  • The decision to choose an ignition interlock versus an appeal is a legal decision that should not be made until a driver consults with a Georgia DUI Attorney.  There are strategic reasons where the traditional approach or the new approach may be best.  Because it will take time to properly evaluate a person's case, it is important not to wait until the last moment to call us.

  • The Interlock Permit is a limited permit that allows for driving to work, school, medical purposes, probation, court, and for the medical and personal needs of family members (necessities of dependents).  Drivers may also attend AA meetings, counseling, community service appointments, and substance abuse treatment. 

  • If a driver on the interlock permit is convicted of a traffic offense, he or she cannot be licensed for six months.  A second violation will result in a two-year suspension of their permit.  

  • Time on the interlock permit is credited towards the suspension time a person can receive if convicted of the underlying DUI offense. 

  • The new rules apply for people arrested on or after July 1, 2017.  For those arrested before, the previous 10-day rule applies.  

  • When requesting a hearing, the $150 filing fee still applies. 

  • For people who call us on the 30th day, we may have no choice but to advise them to get the interlock permit at the Georgia Department of Driver Services since that will keep all options available in their case. 

  • We vehemently warn all of our clients, and anyone reading this Georgia DUI Information, to contact us before paying any ticket or going to court on any citation while driving on a Georgia Limited Interlock Permit.  A conviction for any moving violation results in at least six months of license suspension without a permit of any kind.

  • The Georgia Department of Driver Services charges $100 to take off the ignition interlock device. 

Finally, as this new law develops over the next few months, we will be posting more information about Georgia Administrative License Hearings.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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