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Understanding Your Options after a Drunk Driving Arrest

In the state of Georgia, a person who is over the legal drinking age of 21 can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Motorists under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI if they are driving with a BAC of 0.02% or higher, and commercial driver’s license carriers can be charged with DUI if their BAC is 0.04% or above while operating a commercial vehicle.

If you have been arrested or charged with DUI, contact Thomas V. Duck III, P.C. to discuss your options with a skilled Albany DUI attorney. In many cases, we are able to help our clients fight for reduced penalties and work to keep their driver’s license. If you wish to avoid having your license suspended, it is important that you act quickly, as you only have 30 calendar days to request an administrative hearing.

Arrested for DUI in Dougherty, Worth, or Lee County? Contact our office at (229) 999-4147 to discuss your options with our legal team today.

Keeping Your Driver’s License after a DUI Arrest

In addition to other penalties, you may be facing driver’s license suspension if you are arrested for DUI or if you refuse a chemical test, such as a breath, urine, or blood test, administered by the state. If you refuse a test, your driver's license will be suspended for 12 months. You may be able to stop the suspension of your driver's license by requesting an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing or by having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

Recent changes to Georgia DUI laws have changed how these processes work. The most notable changes include:

  • The DS-1205 form, issued to drivers at the time of arrest, halts the administrative license suspension set for the 45th day after the arrest. At the end of 45 days, if the accused individual has not requested an ALS hearing or an ignition interlock permit, his or her driver's license will be suspended.
  • Drivers now have 30 calendar days to file for an ALS hearing with the Office of State Administrative Hearings. While this is more than the 10 days previously allowed, it is still important that you act quickly if you wish to take this approach to avoiding driver's license suspension.
  • ALS hearing requests must be sent via certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, and return receipt must be requested.
  • Instead of an ALS hearing, drivers may request an ignition interlock permit and have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for a period of 120 days (if the driver submitted to a breath, blood, or urine test) or 12 months (if the driver refused a breath, blood, or urine test). This waives your right to an ALS hearing.

If you choose to file an appeal, you will be required to submit a $150 filing fee. Your appeal must be filed within 30 calendar days and must be submitted via certified mail or statutory overnight delivery with return receipt requested. Once the letter is sent, you will be allowed to continue driving until the time of your ALS hearing.

Ignition Interlock Permits

If you pursue the ignition interlock approach to keeping your driver's license, you must install an ignition interlock device (essentially, a small breathalyzer that records the driver's BAC before the vehicle can be started) on your vehicle within 30 days of the DUI arrest. Once the device is installed, you must apply for an ignition interlock permit at the Georgia Department of Driver Services. If you submitted to a breath, blood, or urine test, the ignition interlock device must remain on your vehicle for 120 days. If you refused or are accused of refusing a test, the device will be required for 12 months. If this is the case, the device cannot be removed for any reason, even if your charges are reduced or you win your case.

Discuss Your Options with an Attorney

Before making any decisions about how you'd like to proceed with your DUI case, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you determine the best course of action. Furthermore, during ALS hearing proceedings, your lawyer can thoroughly investigate your case and argue on your behalf. There are many potential defenses and winning your hearing will allow you to retain your Georgia driving privileges. Our attorney can provide you with clear legal counsel and aggressive representation.

To discuss your case with a skilled DUI attorney in Albany, call Thomas V. Duck III, P.C. at (229) 999-4147 today. We fight for the rights of our clients and can help you navigate the legal system.

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