Administrative License Suspension in Hall County

(404) 816-4440

It is a privilege to drive in Georgia, but that privilege can be taken away from you. In fact, if you are arrested for a drunk driving charge in Georgia, you can face two separate processes that can result in license suspension. The first, of course, is the criminal process – a conviction could mean a DUI sentence that includes license suspension. The second is the administrative process via Georgia Department of Driver Services.

To prevent license suspension by either process, you have to fight. In the case of the administrative process, that means requesting an administrative license suspension hearing (ALS hearing) within 30 days of your arrest, or else license suspension is automatic. A Hall County DUI lawyer can help you with this process and represent you at the hearing. In fact, an experienced DUI attorney will be able to use the ALS hearing as the basis of your DUI defense

Below is some information you should know about administrative license suspension in Hall County. When you are ready to retain an experienced DUI attorney in Gainesville, contact our office today.

What is an ALS Hearing in Hall County?

The administrative process to suspend your license after a DUI address begins at the time of your arrest. The arresting officer will take your driver's license and provide you with a Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Form 1205. This form essentially acts as two things:

  1. a temporary 45-day driver's license; and
  2. notice that your driver's license will be suspended due to the police officer's reasonable suspicion that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a vehicle.

Upon receipt of Form 1205, you have 30 calendar days to request an ALS hearing. To do so, an appeal letter must be sent to the Department of Driver Services, accompanied by a $150 filing fee made payable to the same. 

And upon the DDS's receipt of your appeal letter, automatic suspension of your driver's license on the 45th day after your arrest will be postponed until your ALS hearing. The hearing is held by the Office of State Administrative Hearings. An administrative judge, not a jury, will decide the fate of your driving license suspension. But with the assistance of a competent, strategic DUI lawyer in Hall County, your chances increase dramatically.

What happens during a Hall County ALS Hearing?

A hearing is usually set within 90 days after receipt of the appeal letter to request the ALS hearing. On the day of the hearing, the judge begins by calling the court calendar to ensure all parties are present for the hearing. If the law enforcement agent who arrested you does not appear, the case may be dismissed then and there. If the agent does appear, then the case will go on. 

This hearing is not a hearing where you must prove your innocence or the state proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This ALS hearing is limited in scope according to OCGA § 40-5-67.1 and includes determining whether:

  • the police had "reasonable grounds to believe" you were intoxicated either by drugs or alcohol while in physical control of a moving vehicle and arrested for the same;
  • you were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident or collision that resulted in serious bodily injury or a fatality;
  • the police informed you of your implied consent rights and what happens if you refuse to submit to a breath testblood test, and/or a urine test;
  • you refused to submit to a test as requested by an officer;
  • any administered test indicated your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08% (or .02% for a person under the age of 21 or .04% for a commercial driver); and/or
  • any test was properly administered, the equipment was properly maintained, and/or the test sample was properly handled.

How can a Hall County DUI attorney defend my license privileges at an ALS Hearing?

A Hall County DUI attorney can defend your driving privileges by:

  • showing the officer's belief that you were illegally intoxicated while driving was not reasonable;
  • showing any test performed was performed improperly or otherwise handled improperly;
  • explaining any refusal was in fact not a refusal (e.g., maybe you questioned the police officer about the test and he or she was aggressive and took your question as a refusal);
  • indicating there were other legitimate reasons for a failed test;
  • proving the person administering the test was not qualified to do so; and, among other ways,
  • proving the testing equipment was faulty and therefore the results were faulty. 

How can a Gainesville DUI attorney use the ALS Hearing to benefit your criminal DUI case?

Regardless of whether the ALS A DUI attorney can use the ALS hearing in a way that it could potentially benefit your criminal DUI defense.

During the ALS hearing, your attorney will obtain a good working understanding of what DUI evidence the state may have against you. Your attorney will also question the arresting officer without the prosecuting attorney in your criminal case present, and this means your attorney can lock in the arresting officer's testimony and use it later to identify discrepancies or other issues that may help your criminal DUI case. 

What happens if you lose the ALS hearing?

If you lose the ALS hearing, not all is lost. But much of it depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. 

First DUI Arrest

A first DUI arrest means a minimum 30-day suspension after losing an ALS hearing. You may have the option, however, to:

  • request a limited permit to drive to work, school, the doctor, etc.; and/or
  • attend DUI School and after attending, you may be able to reinstate your license.

First DUI Arrest & Refusal to Submit to a Test

A first DUI arrest after which you refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, results in the loss of driving privileges for one year. You do not have the option to request a limited driving permit unless you are acquitted or found not guilty of your DUI or the charge was reduced to reckless driving.

Second DUI Arrest  in Five Years

A second DUI arrest within five years of your first DUI arrest results in administrative license suspension for three years. You do not have the option to request a limited driving permit until or unless:

  • 18 months elapse and a breath test device, like an ignition interlock device, is installed in your vehicle(s);
  • you are found guilty or acquitted of the DUI; or
  • the DUI charged is reduced to a lesser charge.

Third DUI Arrest in Five Years

A third DUI arrest within five years of your first and second DUI arrest results in a five-year license suspension. You will not have an option to obtain a work permit until or unless:

  • two years elapse and then a breath test device, like an ignition interlock device, is installed in your vehicle(s);
  • you are found guilty or acquitted of the DUI; or
  • the DUI charged is reduced to a lesser charge.

Contact a Seasoned ALS Hearing Attorney in Hall County Today

If you have been arrested for a DUI, your first line of defense is retaining a Hall County DUI attorney to request and defend your ALS hearing. Your criminal defense strategy begins with the ALS hearing. Contact our office online or at (404) 816-4440 today to set up an initial consultation.

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