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.
There are four potential outcomes after an officer requests a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine:
- 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.
- You refuse to give a sample of your blood, breath, or urine.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Did the officer have reasonable suspicion to stop you?
- Did the officer have probable cause to arrest your for DUI?
- Did the officer read the appropriate Georgia Implied Consent notice in the correct way and in a timely manner?
- 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.