Every driver convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Georgia is subject to a suspension of driving privileges. How long and under what conditions depends on your age, the type of license you possess, whether or not you have been convicted of DUI before (and if so, how many times), and the particulars of your DUI arrest.
In many instances, drivers charged with Driving Under the Influence not only face suspension of their license based on any criminal conviction that may occur, but also administratively, as a result of an administrative license suspension hearing (discussed in more detail below).
Administrative License Suspension and 10-Day Rule:
If you are charged with DUI Per Se, or refuse to take the State administered chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine upon request by a police officer (because of the consequences defined by the Implied Consent laws in Georgia), the officer is required by law to submit paperwork to the Department of Public Safety that petitions for license to be suspended administratively. This paperwork initiates an administrative license suspension (ALS) hearing which is run by OSAH, the Office of State Administrative Hearings. This proceeding is separate and distinct from the criminal charges you face upon arrest, but also subjects you to license suspension.
Keep in mind: You are not automatically guaranteed this hearing. In fact, you only have 10 DAYS from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing, and if you do not, your license will be administratively suspended as a matter of law after thirty (30) days.
If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, fail to request a hearing in a timely manner, and your license is suspended administratively, it does not matter if you ultimately take your case to trial and win, or plead or are found guilty of an offense other than DUI (such as Reckless Driving)…your license will be suspended for one (1) to five (5) years, depending on your criminal record, and you will not be eligible for any limited hardship driving permits.
If you submit to the chemical testing of your blood, breath or urine as requested by the police officer upon arrest for your first DUI, and request an administrative hearing within 10 days but lose the hearing, you are eligible for a limited permit to drive for work, and based on the completion of certain conditions, potential early reinstatement of your driving privileges. The same is true if you submit to chemical testing but do not request an administrative hearing in a timely manner.
Second and Subsequent DUIs:
If you do not request an administrative hearing in a timely manner, or you do request the hearing in a timely manner but lose, you are not eligible for any limited hardship permits to drive. Depending on how many DUI convictions you have on your record, you face at least a three (3) year license suspension.
Because the clock starts ticking on any DUI charge immediately, and because the penalties can be imposed almost immediately as well, it is important to contact a professional Canton DUI attorney immediately to discuss the particulars of your case. Georgia DUI law is complicated and requires careful navigation and attention.