The 30-Day Letter

In all but a few Georgia DUI arrests, there are two different legal matters that must be dealt with — the administrative license suspension (ALS) and the criminal driving under the influence (DUI) case. In essence, this dual-tiered approach means that to win a DUI case, you need to fight both issues in two separate court cases, each with its own judge and prosecutor. Besides the usual criminal DUI prosecution (which most of the time comes last), the ALS appeal concentrates on the single issue of your pretrial loss of driver's license.

Filing The 30-Day ALS Letter Inside Of "30 Business Days"

After you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, the ALS appeal is initiated only upon your written request asking for a hearing regarding your driver's license suspension. This process must be initiated by you within 30 business days of your DUI arrest. When determining the due date, you need not count weekends or state holidays (but not federal holidays), and the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) must receive your letter by the 30th business day.

Remember, Georgia state and local governments are represented by skilled and experienced attorneys and law enforcement agents — and you deserve a defense lawyer just as good. To protect your rights you should act quickly. Contact our office today to preserve your freedom.

The 30-Day Letter Must Be Submitted As Quickly As Possible

As of July 1, 2017, the law gives you two options when it comes to challenging the pretrial suspension of your driver's license. Note that both options, however, require you to make quick decisions.

  • Option One
    • If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08 or greater, or if the police officer considered your conduct refusal to submit to BAC testing, the officer can suspend your driver's license and start the 30-day administrative clock running by issuing you a 1205 form, which also serves as a temporary 45-day driver's license.
    • You now have 30 days to appeal the revocation of your license. Appeals cost $150, must be made in writing and should be sent by certified mail. The ALS appeal hearing date will likely be anywhere between 55 and 65 days following the date that the 30-day letter was read by the DDS.
    • The 45-day temporary driver's license can be extended by the DDS, thereby allowing you to drive until the hearing date or the date a decision is made.
    • On appeal, your case will be heard by an administrative judge who determines whether the stop of your vehicle was lawful, whether the implied-consent warnings were read properly and whether any civil rights were violated.
  • Option Two
    • Instead of appealing the administrative revocation of your driver's license, you can apply for an ignition interlock limited permit. To get the permit, you must:
    1. Pay a $25 permit fee
    2. Apply within 30 days of the arrest
    3. Surrender your driver's license, and
    4. Sign a waiver of the administrative hearing
    • The permit is good for one year and the interlock device must be installed on your vehicle for the duration of the permit.
    • Conditions may also be placed on your limited permit such as only driving to and from work, for medical care, school, treatment, court or other approved activity.
    • If you refused the BAC test, are under 21, hold a commercial license, have an out-of-state license, or have been convicted of one or more DUIs within the past five years, you cannot selection option two — you're stuck with option one.

Failing To Submit To A Chemical Test And ALS Consequences

When you fail the chemical testing performed by the arresting officer (urine, blood or breath) it could lead to a 12-month driver's license suspension for first-time offenders. This time frame increases to three years for a second offense within five years and six years for a third offense. You are also facing revocation of your driver's license at this point.

  • Refusing the administrative suspension could lead to a limited work permit. A driver's license suspension founded on refusing to undergo chemical testing may only hurt your right to drive if you do not fight to keep it. You can get a work permit by doing so. By winning or negotiating a "withdrawal" of the driver's license suspension, you would be able to drive.
  • Repeat ALS offenders receive greater penalties. If you get two administrative license suspensions within five years, you are at severe risk of having your license suspended for three years. Also, a work permit will not be granted.

Remember The Administrative And Criminal Cases Are Different

You must understand that the administrative license suspension is a civil matter as opposed to the DUI itself, which is criminal. There are many more penalties following a driving under the influence conviction than there are for losing your driver's license. For instance, you could face prison time, heavy fees and other consequences.

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact Burns Law Group, PC, in Canton today for experienced, effective legal representation for both your ALS and DUI cases. Call 770-628-1131 today to arrange your consultation.