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10 Important Issues on New GA Law for DUI License Suspension

By: William C. Head, DUI Lawyer Atlanta

Georgia Drivers License Suspension - DUI Lawyer Atlanta

1. New GA DUI Refusal Interlock Option and New Filing Deadline of 30 days.

Effective July 1, 2017 and after, the arresting officer in a Georgia DUI less safe arrest will take the driver’s license, suspend the license (or out-of-state driver’s RIGHT to drive in Georgia), and give the arrested person a 45-day temporary license. The driver, however, MUST appeal or opt for an ignition interlock device “permit” within 30 days, not 45. This now gives GA licensees a new interlock option, starting July 1, 2017. You must act fast to avoid a DUI license suspension.

So, most Georgia licensees now have 3 OPTIONS for those age 21 and over, who have neither a DUI conviction nor a prior ALS administrative license suspension within the past 5 years, calculated from the date of arrest. As before, some drivers will take NO ACTION to appeal or opt for the ignition interlock.

On the 46th day after the arrest, these “do nothing” drivers (whether licensed in GA or outside of Georgia) will be suspended indefinitely in Georgia. Thus, as before, doing NOTHING is always one option a person can take, and then deal with the license suspension consequences.

2. New Georgia 30-day Time Limit to Act Cannot Be Waived or Extended.

If the arrested driver refused the implied consent test, or if he or she consented to be tested, and blew into an Intoxilyzer 9000 breath alcohol device and yielded a breath alcohol reading above the legal limit (DUI-alcohol per se) for their type of driver’s license, two options now exist in GA.

However, the failure — within 30 days following arrest — to elect ONE alternative or the OTHER and follow the rules for EITHER agreeing to use interlock OR appealing, will mean that nothing can be done to help these people.

Neither a DUI defense lawyer nor the suspended DUI driver can act to select an option after the 30th day following the arrest for DUI. This means that the driver only has 30 days to avoid a DUI license suspension. So, regardless of being a DUI breath alcohol test case, or a DUI refusal, the person arrested for a GA DUI MUST ACT no later than the 30th day after the arrest date (or the “serve” date, if later than the arrest date), as indicated on the DS 1205 form. Acting means FILING, which is done by proof of mailing by certified US Mail, or hand delivery to Conyers, GA, to DDS Georgia.

3. Drivers With Less Safe DUI Refusal or GA DUI Alcohol Per Se Can Both Seek Interlock Permit.

For those who take action to avoid DUI license suspension, he or she can now EITHER request a traditional ALS hearing OR opt to take the new ignition interlock device limited permit (IIDLP) option, as set forth below. Both a DUI driver (age 21 and over) who is validly licensed in Georgia who refused implied consent testing after the DUI arrest and those consented to be tested, and who took the requested implied consent test can utilize this new interlock option. However, very few drivers will choose the IIDLP for a DUI alcohol per se case.

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4. Pros and Cons of Election to Install Ignition Interlock in Georgia for 12 Months.

This IIDLP option was put in place to permit restricted driving for the DUI arrestees who refused the implied consent test, after an arrest for DUI less safe in Georgia. Before this IIDLP option existed, the administrative DUI license suspension meant zero driving for 12 months.

This DUI permit (IIDLP) is for 12 full months and requires the IID driver keeping the interlock for the entire 12-month time period, even if the criminal case DUI is dismissed, reduced, or acquitted.

Either being convicted of a traffic violation or merely being involved in a collision involving death or serious injury revokes the Interlock Permit and carries a penalty of total loss or right to drive. Plus, an absolute loss of all privileges will be for at least 6 months, for a 1st permit revocation, and 2 years for the 2nd revocation of a permit.

5. New GA Interlock Option for Implied Consent Limited to First DUI Offense in 5 Years.

This new implied consent interlock option also applies for a first DUI offense driver (1st DUI within 5 years) who submits to testing and has a DUI alcohol per se test result, but this IIDLP is for only 4 months. The previous, non-interlock ALS appeal route is also still available, for a person who files an OSAH appeal and loses the administrative hearing. This alternative will be preferable to most drivers who submitted to implied consent testing after their Georgia DUI arrest.

6. The 30-day Time Frame is Calendar Days, not Business Days, as Under Prior GA DUI Law.

Under previous GA DUI law concerning DUI license suspension, the DUI arrestee would have only 10 business days within which to file the DDS Georgia letter. Effective July 1, 2017, that time period for filing has now changed to “within 30 calendar days,” with Day 1 being the next day after the “serve” date (typically, the ARREST date) on the DDS 1205 (as shown on the ticket or warrant).

This is regardless of whether that day is a weekday, weekend day or holiday. Keep this in mind when trying to avoid a DUI license suspension.

7. A Limited Ignition Interlock Device Permit in GA is Not a Full Georgia Driver’s License.

The person who is charged with DUI refusal or DUI per se will need to DECIDE whether or not to request a DDS hearing on the merits of the officer’s DUI case. If this hearing is requested, the DDS hearing is an appeal and the interlock option is GONE. This request is sent to the GA Dept of Driver Services just like the old letter, but now must be done within 30 calendar days.

Alternatively, the suspended driver can also elect to waive any right to an administrative appeal and (instead) — within 30 calendar days — file for the Interlock Permit.

If the interlock permit is requested, the IIDLP will only be allowed if that person gets the permit within 10 days. This allows limited driving privileges on the interlock permit (IIDLP), by paying for and installing an interlock ignition device on their vehicle within 10 days of getting their IID permit. This driver is then relegated to driving ONLY this interlock-restricted vehicle, and no other vehicle (e.g., a rental car, a customer’s vehicle at a car dealership or an auto repair shop or rental car agency, etc.), for a full year.

Limited driving privileges on the IIDLP are similar to a DUI limited permit because the full-status license will be in suspension. Limited driving privileges are preferable to the complete loss of driving privileges due to a DUI license suspension.

8. ALS Appeal or 12-month Ignition Interlock in Georgia Are Mutually Exclusive Options.

If a person wants to file an appeal with Georgia DDS, the form of the appeal letter is still the same. State law requires the $150 fee, and the letter goes to the DDS just like before. Once processed, Georgia DDS will send a form letter, extending the driver’s right to drive, until the hearing is concluded. Also, DDS Georgia sends the administrative appeal case to OSAH headquarters just like before.

CAUTION: Because the TWO paths are mutually exclusive, meaning that opting for one excludes the other, NO PERSON should make this decision without an experienced DUI lawyer reviewing (with the suspended driver) the benefits and drawbacks of each path. This is not a “cookie-cutter” option, and the wrong decision can radically impact the person’s ability to drive.

9. Administrative Georgia Driver DUI License Suspension Appeal is Same as Under Old GA Laws.

If the person decides to do an appeal to the DDS, it is handled just as before, wherein OSAH schedules a hearing before one of over a dozen Administrative Law Judges. The suspended driver or his or her DUI attorney will cover the hearing just as before.

If it is a DUI per se (a DUI breath alcohol test case) and the client is suspended, he or she is eligible immediately for a limited permit and can reinstate their full license after only 30 days, with proof of completing the risk reduction program (DUI school) payment of $210 (walk-in) and $200 if paid by mail.

The proof of completing Atlanta DUI classes is now electronically transmitted by the risk reduction school to Georgia DDS, once the attendee completes the DUI classes. So, in most cases, this will be done and already at DDS GA headquarters in Conyers when the reinstatement fee is received.

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10. Experienced Georgia DUI Lawyers Know Other Ways to Resolve a DUI Refusal

Nothing in the new law alters the previous practice of an officer being able to negotiate a case with the suspended driver’s attorney, and nothing would prevent the officer from withdrawing the DDS 1205 in exchange for a guilty plea on refusal cases that would eliminate the need for an interlock.

Having your lawyer negotiate for you is an option in a DUI license suspension.

WARNING: This has to be done within the 30-day “window” since the driver must elect to take the IID option or appeal by that time. If an appeal is filed, nothing in the law stops officers from withdrawing the ALS unilaterally, but these types of withdrawals are not common.

Call our award-winning Atlanta DUI law firm for a FREE lawyer consultation. 404-567-5515.

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