A single DUI arrest can trigger two different cases. If you do not act within 10 business days of arrest, you will probably lose your driver’s license.
Decades ago, drivers could make it easier to beat a DUI by refusing to take a breath test. Georgia has developed elaborate procedures to punish drivers who refuse to take the test.
Every DUI citation will initiate a criminal case in state or city court. This is the court that can convict you of DUI and put you in jail for up to twelve months. The criminal case is what most people have in mind when thinking about a DUI case. In your criminal case, you are innocent until proven guilty, you have the right to a trial by jury, and you have all the other constitutional protections that apply to a criminal case.
Many DUIs also involve a completely separate, civil case called an “administrative license hearing.” If the arresting officer took your physical driver’s license and gave you a DDS Form 1205 (often a yellow colored carbon copy), then you need to act quickly to keep your driver’s license. You do not need to worry about an administrative license hearing unless and until you receive a DDS form 1205.
The DDS form 1205 is a temporary driver’s license. Unless you act, it is valid for only 30 days. If you do nothing, then, 31 days after your arrest, it will be a crime for you to drive a car. To keep driving, you have to file a petition with the Department of Driver’s Services within 10 business days of your arrest. You must also pay a $150 filing fee. You should hire a DUI attorney to do this.
If you file this petition, (1) you will be scheduled for an administrative hearing and (2) your DDS Form 1205 is extended until this hearing occurs. Your administrative hearing will typically occur between four and eight weeks after your arrest, but this is not always the case.
If you did not take a blood or breath test, your administrative hearing can be more important than your criminal case. The suspensions for refusing a test are much harsher than the suspensions for a first time DUI. These suspensions can usually be avoided through negotiation with the arresting officer, but these negotiations can be tricky and require a knowlegable attorney.
At your administrative hearing, if the judge finds that you were legally arrested for DUI and refused to take the test, you will receive a “hard suspension” of at least one year. You cannot get a restricted license during this period. Conversely, a driver who has not had a previous DUI in the past 10 years can get his driver’s license restored after a 120-day suspension. During this 120 period, the driver is eligible for a restricted permit to drive to and from work and certain other activities.
Criminal defense matters are time sensitive, and they are not to be taken lightly. While it is helpful to read the information you'll find here, and elsewhere on the internet, there is no substitution to speaking with a professional attorney about the specifics of your case.
A consultation with The Abbott Law Firm is completely free, and will give you an opportunity to speak with an experienced professional who knows not only the law, but more importantly, the law as it is enforced in Henry County.
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