In Georgia, until July 2017 when the law changes, following an Atlanta DUI arrest, a person has ten business days to send a letter to the Department of Driver Services for either refusing the state’s test, or testing above a 0.08 if the person is in a regular car, 0.02 if the person is under 21, and 0.04 if the person is in a commercial vehicle. An attorney can send the letter to the Department of Driver Services, begin the process of seeing what evidence there is against the client, and make a better determination of what is going to happen with the case.

There are many elements of a DUI charge that are crucial to occur following an arrest. If you have been charged and are seeking legal guidance, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Challenging a License Suspension

There are a number of reasons for which an individual can challenge their license suspension after an Atlanta DUI arrest. On a first DUI, a person should be eligible to get a limited permit and then reinstated. It is important to note that there is no restriction on driving following an Atlanta DUI arrest unless the individual’s license was suspended for another reason.

The state has to prove that there are reasonable grounds to believe a person was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The prosecution will determine if law enforcement placed the person under lawful arrest and if they apprised them of the consequences of taking or refusing the test. If the state has done that by what is called a “preponderance of the evidence”—in other words, the more likely than not standard—the person will lose their driver’s license. It does not take a lot of evidence to lose a driver’s license at an administrative hearing. In fact, a majority of the time, if a case went to a hearing, the suspect will lose.

If the state has done that by what is called a “preponderance of the evidence”—in other words, the more likely than not standard—the person will lose their driver’s license. It does not take a lot of evidence to lose a driver’s license at an administrative hearing. In fact, a majority of the time, if a case went to a hearing, the suspect will lose. However, that does not mean that the person will lose their case at trial or in the criminal system. There are two different systems. The first is the administrative system, which takes place before the court date, but that generally involves the taking of the blood, breath, or urine test, blowing above or registering above the legal limit, or refusing the state-administered chemical test.

If the person does not challenge their license suspension, there will be an automatic suspension after the 31st day from the arrest. However, this law will change in July of 2017. It is important that an individual takes action within 10 days following their Atlanta DUI arrest.

Review Hearing Process

After requesting a hearing following an Atlanta DUI arrest, the Office of State Administrative Hearings will conduct a hearing, which is similar to a mini-trial. The rules of evidence apply, the person has the opportunity to cross-examine the officer, but the standard is a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. At that particular hearing, they simply have to prove the alcohol level was above the legal limit or the person refused the test.

As part of the hearing process, an individual will file a letter to the Department of Driver Services with a $150 fee. The Department of Driver Services will then forward that request to the Office of State Administrative Hearings.

The Office of State Administrative Hearings, which is called OSAH, will set a hearing date. That is usually 45 to 60 days following the arrest. The attorney can appear, have a hearing, and hopefully get the officer to withdraw the suspension. A number of resolutions can happen at that hearing date.

Losing the Hearing

If an individual loses the hearing following an Atlanta DUI arrest but they took the test, they are eligible for a limited permit assuming it is a first lifetime or a first in five administrative suspensions. If it is not a first in five administrative suspensions, they are not entitled to a limited permit. If they refuse the test, they are not entitled to a limited permit.

Obtaining a Restricted License

The license can be suspended following a DUI arrest in Atlanta in two different ways in a criminal DUI case. First, if a person refuses the test and they have a hearing and lose, there is no permit. If the person takes the test and blew above a 0.08, 0.02, or 0.04, they are eligible to get a limited permit immediately and reinstate 30 days after the arrest, assuming this is a first lifetime DUI or a first-time administrative suspension with proof of DUI school and $210.

Upon a criminal conviction, if it is the first offense within five years, the person is eligible for a limited permit immediately by going to the Department of Driver Services and paying $25. In addition, if this is the second offense within five years, there is no limited permit available on a criminal conviction until 120 days have passed. Then, the person needs to put an interlock ignition device on their car and also enroll in a 17-week Department of Human Resource-approved alcohol and drug treatment program.

An individual can obtain an official Atlanta ID card by going to the Department of Driver Services following their Atlanta DUI arrest. Any Department of Driver Services can give anyone an identification card.