Your options and what you must do within 30 days of being arrested for a DUI in Georgia: New laws as of July 1, 2017
The 30-day letter and Georgia Temporary Driving Permits in Georgia DUI cases
NOTICE** This letter was formerly referred to a the "10-Day Letter" in Georgia DUI cases. The Georgia law changed on July 1, 2017, with regards to the options and procedures for appealing administrative suspensions and options of drivers accused of DUI in Georgia.
NEW GEORGIA LAW as of July 1, 2017:
If you refuse to take a requested State-administered chemical test (blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance) after being arrested for DUI, then your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive in the State of Georgia may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Once you have been arrested and received a DDS Form 1205, there are three options that may be available to you:
1) Do Nothing
If you do not request an appeal hearing (30-day letter) or Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit: If you do essentially are arrested and "do nothing," your DDS Form 1205 will serve as your driver's license for 45 days. On the 46th day after your arrest, you Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive in the State of Georgia (if you have an out-of-state license) will be suspended for one year. If you refused the requested test, you will not be eligible for any type of limited driving permit. An administrative license suspension permit may be available to you if you submitted to the requested test and have not been subject to an administrative license suspension within the last 5 years. There are also other factors that may affect your ability to obtain an administrative license suspension permit.
2) The Appeal Option
The appeal option is what was previously referred to as the 10-day letter, or now the 30-day letter, which is requesting a hearing in front of an administrative law judge in the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings Court to challenge the suspension of your license. There is a $150 fee to request this hearing. Once you request this hearing, your license suspension will be stayed (put on hold) until your hearing is conducted. The issues addressed in this hearing are as follows:
a) Whether the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving or in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and were lawfully placed under arrest for DUI;
b) Whether at the time of the request for the tests or tests, the officer informed you of your implied consent rights and the consequence of submitting or refusing to submit to such test;
c) Whether you refused the test, or if a test or tests were administered and the results indicated an alcohol concentration met or exceeded the applicable "per se" limits of 0.08 grams or more for drivers age 21 and older, 0.02 for drivers under the age of 21, or 0.04 for operators of commercial vehicles; and,
d) Whether the test or tests were properly administered by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the Division of Forensic Sciences of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on an instrument approved by the Division of Forensic Sciences or a test conducted by the Division of Forensic Sciences.
**Note: If you request an appeal hearing with a 30-day letter or in person at a Georgia DDS facility, you will have waived your right to an Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit. See Below.
3) Request an Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit
The last option is to request an ignition interlock device limited permit from DDS. The ignition interlock device requires that you to blow into the device to start your vehicle. You must request this option within 30 days of the date of your arrest. If you refused the requested test from the arresting officer (blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance), and you choose the ignition interlock device limited permit, you will have to maintain the device for 1 year. You will have to pay to have it installed, monitored daily, calibrated, inspected, and finally removed from your vehicle for the entire year. Even if you are found not guilty at trial, you will still have to keep the interlock device installed on your car. If you took the test but tested above the legal limit, then you will have to keep the ignition interlock device for at least 4 months. This option to request an ignition interlock device limited permit is not available if:
a) you have been convicted of DUI within the past 5 years;
b) you are under 21 years old;
c) you do not have a Georgia license; and,
d) you have any other suspension, cancellation, denial, or revocation of your Georgia license.
**Note: If you have a Commercial Driver's License, and you request this limited permit, your CDL qualification will be downgraded during the period of your suspension.
Blog posts by Bill Hardman at DUI Blog and Case Results