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Georgia Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit after DUI Arrest

Following a DUI arrest, the State of Georgia has authority to suspend the driver’s license of the accused in a civil proceeding, which is separate from the criminal case, if one of the following occurs:

  1. After the accused has been arrested, the officer on the scene read the accused the correct “Implied Consent” notice and he/she refused to comply with either a breath, blood, or urine test in order to determine his/her blood alcohol content; OR
  2. The accused consented to a breath, blood, or urine test and the results showed that the blood alcohol content of the accused was above the legal limit.

At this time, the accused has a few options. He/she can either appeal the license suspension or install an interlock device in his/her vehicle for the duration of the suspension. However, in this blog we will solely discuss the latter.

INTERLOCK DEVICE

If the DUI arrest mirrored the situation described above in subsection (1), the accused has 30 days from the arrest to install an interlock device in their vehicle AND apply for an interlock device permit with the Georgia Department of Driver Services. The installation of the interlock device must be installed PRIOR to applying for the permit and it must be installed for a period of 12 months. In Georgia, this has become a viable alternative to a license suspension if the accused after a DUI arrest has refused to comply with a breath, blood, or urine sample.

However, not everyone who is arrested with a DUI will be eligible to install an interlock device in their vehicle as an alternative to a license suspension. The following must pertain to the accused in order for the accused to be eligible to install an interlock device in their vehicle:

  • Must have a Georgia driver’s license;
  • Be 21 years or older;
  • Have no other active license revocations or suspensions; and
  • No previous DUI convictions in the last five years.

Additionally, if the accused meets any of the following criteria, he/she is not eligible for an interlock device:

  • Drivers with out-of-state licenses;
  • Drivers with an ALS suspension in the previous five years;
  • Drivers whose DUI case involved an accident with serious injury or death;
  • CDL drivers, unless the license is downgraded to non-commercial during the suspension.

At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, we understand that there are grave consequences following a DUI arrest, including the possibility of a license suspension. Therefore, our attorneys are knowledgeable about all possible options for our clients and we work tirelessly to advocate for them. Therefore, if you have been arrested for a DUI and are potentially facing a license suspension, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

DUI: License Suspension

How can my license to drive be suspended administratively and again if I am convicted of DUI? 

This is a good question.  Georgia law thinks of driving as a privilege and not a right.  On the administrative end, the law provides the Department of Driver Services (hereafter “DDS”) may take your license (viewed as a privilege) if there is a showing that you were more likely than not driving under the influence.  This standard of proof is much lower than in a criminal case where the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Where does license suspension begin?

The administrative license suspension (ALS) process begins when the arresting officer takes your driver’s license and issues you a “1205 Form” which acts as a 45 day driving permit upon a DUI arrest. DDS must receive a copy of the 1205 Form from law enforcement before a hearing can be scheduled or a limited driving permit can be issued.

Despite the arrest, the driver’s license is still valid until DDS receives the 1205 Form and 45 days have passed since the 1205 Form was served. The suspension is “pending” once DDS receives the 1205 form until the outcome of the administrative hearing.  Once DDS receives the 1205 Form this 45 day driving permit will take effect and your driver’s license status will remain “pending.” This 45 day permit can be extended if the OSAH hearing is not held within 45 days. There are no limited driving restrictions with respect to this 45 day permit.

What are my options?

There are two approaches to dealing with an administrative license suspension: (1) request a hearing to appeal the suspension; or (2) elect to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. 

DDS must receive the request for a hearing within 30 actual days (not business days) of the service of the 1205 Form. The hearing request must contain a $150 filing fee, the correct date of the arrest or incident, and the correct name of the driver, date of birth, and driver’s license number. Incorrect information could delay the hearing or cause a delayed suspension. Once the hearing request letter is received, your driver’s license will not go into suspension until you are afforded the ALS hearing before the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH).

What happens at the hearing?

If you requested a hearing, the DDS will send you and your attorney a notice of a hearing date, time and location.  The officer who stopped you is required to testify in front of an administrative law judge. The scope of the hearing is limited to the following:      

  • (A) Whether the law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and was lawfully placed under arrest for violating Code Section 40-6-391; or
  •   (B) Whether the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision resulting in serious injury or fatality; and
  •       (C) Whether at the time of the request for the test or tests the officer informed the person of the person’s implied consent rights and the consequence of submitting or refusing to submit to such test; and
  •       (D) Whether the person refused the test; or
  •       (E) Whether a test or tests were administered and the results indicated an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more or, for a person under the age of 21, an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more or, for a person operating or having actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more; and
  •    
      (F) 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, including whether the machine at the time of the test was operated with all its electronic and operating components prescribed by its manufacturer properly attached and in good working order, which shall be required. A copy of the operator’s permit showing that the operator has been trained on the particular type of instrument used and one of the original copies of the test results or, where the test is performed by the Division of Forensic Sciences, a copy of the crime lab report shall satisfy the requirements of this subparagraph.

If the judge believes the officer legally satisfied the aforementioned requirements, your license shall be suspended.

What if I lose the ALS hearing?

If you took the requested test, your breath/blood results were over .08, and you lose the ALS hearing:

Your license/privilege to drive will be suspended for 1 year; however, after 30 days from the effective date of suspension, you may apply for reinstatement of your license, provided you do the following:

  1. 1. Submit an original certificate of completion of an approved DUI Alcohol/Drug Use Risk Reduction Program;
  2. 2. Remit a $210.00 restoration fee (or $200.00 if reinstatement is processed for by mail).

This suspension will not age off, but will remain active until you have completed the requirements listed above.[1]

If this is your first DUI in the last five years, you may be eligible for a Non-Ignition Interlock limited driving permit.[2] Your license must be under suspension (lose ALS hearing or no request for hearing is made). These types of limited permits are issued at DDS locations and are renewable in 30 day increments. They’re also referred to as “ALS Permits.”

What if I refused to take the requested test and lose the ALS hearing?

If you refused to take the State’s breath test, your license/privilege to drive in Georgia shall be suspended for one year.  You will not be eligible for a temporary/limited driving permit.  The suspension ages off at the end of 1 year.

What if you request a hearing but the officer never submits the 1205 Form to DDS?

Georgia law requires the officer to submit the 1205 Form to DDS within 10 days of serving you with notice.[3] If the 1205 Form is not received, OSAH will send you a 91 day letter stating they have not received the 1205 Form. You will be entitled to a refund of your $150 filing fee. You must request the refund through the DDS form.[4] In addition, the 1205 Temporary Driving Permit Extension is no longer valid. As a result, you can obtain a new driver’s license from DDS so long as you indicate on your application for new license that your previous license was taken by an officer.

The Ignition Interlock Device Permit Approach[5]

The issuance of an “Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit”, is conditioned upon you waiving your right to an administrative hearing and having an ignition interlock device installed your vehicle.  The current ALS process, including the right to an administrative hearing, will remain in place as an option if you do not qualify for or do not wish to obtain this type of permit.     

In addition to waiving your right to an administrative hearing and having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, you must also meet the following conditions:

  • Application for the permit must be made with DDS within 30 days of the person being served notice of the ALS by the arresting officer through the DS-1205 form, or—in the event of a DS-1205S form—within 30 days of receiving such notice of the ALS from DDS;
  • The ALS cannot stem from a motor vehicle accident involving fatalities or serious injuries;
  • You must be licensed in Georgia and not have any other suspensions, cancellations, or revocations against his or her Georgia driver’s license;
  • If you hold a Georgia commercial driver’s license (CDL), you must downgrade to a non-commercial Georgia driver’s license in order to obtain and maintain the permit;
  • You cannot have any prior convictions for DUI in the 5-year period preceding application for the permit;
  • You must surrender his or her Georgia driver’s license, either to the arresting officer at time of arrest or to DDS prior to issuance of the permit; and,
  • You must pay a $25.00 permit fee.

The period of time in which you must successfully maintain the ignition interlock device on their vehicle depends on whether you consented to or refusedS the state-administered chemical test requested by the arresting officer.

Consent v. Refusal

A person who consents to the state-administered chemical test and opts for the new permit will be required to successfully maintain the ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a period of 4 months.  If you are subsequently acquitted of the underlying DUI charge, or the underlying DUI charge is dismissed or reduced, the ignition interlock restriction may be removed at no cost and the driver’s license may be replaced.  The decision as to whether a fee is charged for removal of the ignition interlock device from your vehicle under such circumstances will be at the discretion of the device provider. A person who refused the state-administered chemical test and opted for the Ignition Interlock permit will be required to successfully maintain the ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a period of 12 months, regardless of the outcome of the underlying DUI charge.   

Successful maintenance of the ignition interlock device must be evidenced by the permit holder to DDS through the production of satisfactory monthly monitoring reports prior to DDS removing the ignition interlock restriction from the permit.  A permit may be renewed for a fee of $5.00 if additional time is needed for the permit holder to comply with the terms of the ignition interlock device, but it may only be renewed one time once the permit holder becomes eligible to reinstate his or her driver’s license. Following the designated term of successful compliance, the ignition interlock device restriction may be removed from the limited driving permit in person at a DDS customer service center for a fee of $100.00 (or $90.00 if removal of the restriction is requested by mail or other approved alternate means).  The removal fee is in addition to any reinstatement fee that may be required.

Driver’s License Suspension Under Criminal Law

O.C.G.A. § 40-5-63 provides for the terms and conditions governing the driver’s license suspension for any person convicted of DUI. Upon the first conviction, the suspension period is for 12 months. Like we saw before, after 120 days, you may apply to DDS for a reinstatement of your driver’s license (upon proof of Risk Reduction and restoration fee, discussed above).

Upon a second DUI conviction in the last five years (measured from the date of arrest), the suspension period is three years. You can still apply for reinstatement but would not be eligible for reinstatement until after ten months (as opposed to 120 days).

Upon a third conviction within the last five years, you will be considered a habitual violator and your driver’s license shall be revoked.

Periods of suspension under this code section begin on the date you are convicted of the offense. It is important to note that suspension time pursuant to an Administrative License Suspension under to O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.1 shall be counted toward fulfillment of any period of suspension subsequently imposed as a result of a conviction of violating O.C.G.A. §40-6-391 which arises out of the same violation for which the Administrative License Suspension was imposed. O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.2(b). For example, if your license was suspended for 6 months after an adverse ALS hearing and you are ultimately convicted of DUI, then you will receive credit for those six months towards time your license is to be suspended as a result of the conviction.

Call Us Today

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.           


[1] Suspension time pursuant to an Administrative License Suspension pursuant to O.C.G.A. §40-5-67.1 shall be counted toward fulfillment of any period of suspension subsequently imposed as a result of a conviction of violating O.C.G.A. §40-6-391 which arises out of the same violation for which the Administrative License Suspension was imposed. O.C.G.A. Code Section 40-5-67.2(b).

[2] O.C.G.A. § 40-5-64

[3] O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.1

[4] https://dds.georgia.gov/documents/refund-request-form

[5] The information contained in this section is taken from DDS’ website: https://dds.georgia.gov/press-releases/2017-06-27/new-ignition-interlock-device-limited-permit-available-july-1st-updated

DS-1205 / ALS: This Sheet of Paper is Nice, but I Want My License Back, Man!

by Ryan Walsh

 

So you’ve received notice from the Office of State Administrative Hearings that your case has been assigned to a Judge and is scheduled for a hearing date. That’s great. What’s next? As mentioned in our blog on DS-1205 forms, the administrative license suspension hearing relates directly to your choice to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine after being arrested for DUI and read Georgia’s Implied Consent Law.

 

Background

There are four potential outcomes after an officer requests a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine:

  1.  The officer does not submit a petition to suspend your license. If this happens, you will receive a refund of your $150 administrative hearing fee after the time period for the officer’s submission expires.
  2. You refuse to give a sample of your blood, breath, or urine.
  3. You give a sample of your blood, breath, or urine and it’s under the legal limit. That legal limit is .08 for anyone 21 or older, and .02 if you are under 21.
  4. You give a sample of your blood, breath, or urine and it’s over the legal limits, .08 and .02 respectively.

The majority of Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearings are focused on outcomes B and D, refusal or a breath test over the legal limit.

 

The first thing I want to know after I know whether it was a breath test or refusal case is whether you have prior DUI history. I need to know if you’ve had an administrative suspension for DUI in the past five (5) years, because if you have it’s going to impact our potential options. A second administrative suspension in five years triggers a three year suspension, 120 days of which are a hard suspension with no work permit involved. And a third administrative suspension in five years automatically triggers a 2 year suspension, no work permit. The work permit is only eligible if you are over 21 AND submit a sample for the state test. If you refuse to take the test, that suspension is a hard one year suspension that can only be overcome with a “win” in your case (dismissal, nolle prosequi, reduction of the charge of dui, or not guilty verdict). I need you to remember what happened in your prior case, and I’m going to need that information to best advise you on how to proceed.

 

After I understand your criminal history, I need to know your priorities. Is your #1 priority beating the DUI? Is it protecting your license? Sometimes these two priorities conflict, and an in-depth understanding of your priorities is again necessary to provide the best advice possible.

 

Hearing Day

So you’ve made it to hearing day. We’ve talked about your DUI history and your priorities. We’ve talked if you want to be present at the hearing. And we’ve talked about the ways this can play out. But in case we haven’t talked, this is what can happen on an ALS hearing date:

  1. Your attorney or the officer does not show up on time for the hearing. If your attorney does not show up, you are in default, and the license suspension is affirmed. Your license is suspended for one year. As your attorney, we do not miss administrative hearings. If you submitted a chemical test, you may be eligible for a work permit or reinstatement depending on your age and DUI history. If you refused a chemical test, your license is suspended for one year, no permits. If the officer does not show up, and has not filed a valid conflict, your suspension will be rescinded, and you will be eligible to have your license reprinted.
  2. Your officer does show up, and we have a chance to informally speak with them about you, about your case, about your unique circumstances. This is generally our first chance to speak with your arresting officer, and we can potentially save your license without having an administrative hearing. Again, a clear understanding of your priorities is important in determining the best course of action in the administrative phase.
  3. Finally, if we can’t work the case out with the officer, we will have the administrative hearing. An administrative hearing on a DUI arrest is a civil hearing that covers the following:
    1. Did the officer have reasonable suspicion to stop you?
    2. Did the officer have probable cause to arrest your for DUI?
    3. Did the officer read the appropriate Georgia Implied Consent notice in the correct way and in a timely manner?
    4. If you consented to a state administered chemical test, was that test administered properly?

That’s it. Just those four areas. After the hearing, the judge will issue their decision based on those four aspects of the DUI arrest.

 

We at the law offices or W. Scott Smith, P.C. are all well trained in the administrative hearing process. We’ve all experienced each and every possible outcomes of the administrative hearing, including the hearing victory. Contact us today at 404-581-0999 or visit http://www.peachstatelawyer.com if you’d like more information.