Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most common questions people have regarding DUI cases and their answers according to an experienced Georgia DUI lawyer. To learn more about drunk driving, visit our Georgia DUI resources page.
The DS-1205S is a form that’s used by law enforcement officers when they receive blood test results after a DUI arrest and the crime lab report shows that the person’s blood alcohol concentration is in excess of one of the per se thresholds that will trigger administrative license suspension. The main difference between the 1205 and the 1205S is that the driver typically does not receive a copy of the 1205S. And when the DDS receives the 1205S from the officer, they will send out a written notice to the driver alerting them that the administrative suspension has been initiated and giving them an opportunity to file an appeal.
The DS-1030 is a form promulgated by the Department of Driver Services for use when a person is being served with notice that they are a habitual violator. One thing to notice about habitual violators is that there’s a provision in Georgia law that says that a driver has legal notice of the revocation of his or her license by virtue of the conviction that triggers the habitual violator designation. So service of the document is not required prior to a subsequent charge for driving while your license is revoked as a habitual violator. So it’s important for folks to realize the consequences of their DUI or other serious driving convictions.
The DS-1127 form is a temporary driving permit that’s issued by officers at the time of a DUI arrest. If the DUI does not involve the initiation of an administrative license suspension either due to the motorist’s blood alcohol concentration or a refusal to submit to blood alcohol testing.
The DS-1150 form is a suspension notification form so that there can be evidence that the person has received actual notice of the suspension of their drivers license. It’s used in a multitude of different situations in court and by law enforcement officers to give drivers written notification of a suspension of their driving privilege.
A driver who is charged with driving under the influence has 10 business days from the date of their arrest to appeal an administrative suspension that’s triggered by that arrest. They need to send a written request to the Georgia Department of Drivers Services along with a filing fee of $150, and our firm can help with that. If it’s any other kind of suspension, there is no fee that’s required. Typically the time to submit a written appeal is 30 days after the driver receives notice and, again, that would go to the Department of Drivers Services headquarters in Conyers, Georgia.
I don’t know of specific statistics with regard to the number of cases that have been appealed, but some of that statistical information is available from the Office of State Administrative Hearings. On their website they maintain some data about the appeals. But typically what we’ll do is try to resolve a case in a way that is a negotiation involving the resolution of the criminal case and the administrative suspension. What we’re trying to do is get the administrative suspension withdrawn from the officer so we can focus all of our attention on fighting the criminal case.
The license suspension appeal hearings typically go in one of a couple of ways. First, if the arresting officer fails to appear then the driver who is charged with DUI would win that appeal by default and get his or her drivers license back. If the officer does appear, then the driver or his or her attorney could negotiate with the officer for a resolution to the administrative suspension, or a resolution to the administrative suspension and the criminal case that is most advantageous to the driver.
A third option would be to actually have an administrative hearing and during the hearing the officer would present evidence about the DUI arrest, about the probable cause for making the traffic stop—if there was one, or if there was a roadblock or if there was a crash—the evidence that he believes supports the charge of driving under the influence and whether he or she read the correct implied consent warning. And those are found on a little orange card that the officers all carry with them.
And then, depending on the nature of the case, if it was a test case where the driver actually took the breath test or the blood test, then the officer would present information about the results of the test. And then on the other hand if the person didn’t take the test, then the officer would testify about the refusal.
The filing fee for a drivers license suspension, if it’s based up on a DUI arrest, is $150. And then the fee that’s charged by the attorney will vary, depending upon the nature of the case, and that would also be true if it’s another type of license suspension. And each case is reviewed by the attorney to make a determination about the legal fees. Typically what our firm does is charge a fee that includes representation in the criminal case and the administrative hearing, and that would be addressed by the attorney at the time of being retained.
Typically, a license suspension appeal would be denied if the administrative law judge or administrative hearing officer makes the determination that whatever triggered the suspension was done properly; that the officer or the DDS followed all of the proper procedures and had all of the proper evidence and information to impose the suspension.
If a driver misses his license appeal hearing, typically what will happen is the suspension or revocation will be upheld or affirmed by default. And what that means, typically, is that the person has waived his or her right to have that issue litigated before an administrative law judge. If some sort of circumstances outside the driver’s control prevented him or her from appearing, like snowy weather or a medical emergency, he or she can file a request for the judge to open the default and reschedule the hearing.
Limited driving permits are documents issued by the Department of Driver Services that allow a person to drive for very limited purposes during the time that they are under a drivers license suspension. Typically the limitations that are put on a limited driving permit will only allow the person to drive to work, to school, to medical care, to get prescriptions filled, to go to defensive driving school or a DUI risk-reduction program, to attend substance abuse treatment, to go to court, to go to probation, to perform community service.
And if the person has any unlicensed family members who live in their home who are in need of transportation, the driver with the limited permit can transport the unlicensed family members to work or to school or to medical care.
Drivers under the age of 21 are rarely eligible for limited driving permits. The suspensions that are posed for folks under 21 under the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act are not usually eligible for a limited driving permit. The one exception to that would be a driver under 21 who has been convicted of a second or subsequent DUI within five years. That person is eligible for the same kind of limited driving permit that’s available to a driver who is at least 21 years-old, which is issued after the first 120 days of the suspension have been served. And that person would have to have an ignition interlock installed on the vehicles that they’re driving.
Refusing a blood or breath test requested by the officer can limit a person’s ability to get a limited driving permit if they’re convicted of the underlying offense of driving under the influence. If there’s a refusal, that suspension is 12 months in length. Certainly, we would appeal that for our clients and try to get that reversed or negotiate a resolution to the case that does not include that. But if for some reason the suspension does go into effect, the period of suspension is 12 months and there is no limited driving permit available.
Answer: All of the administrative suspensions that apply to a Georgia resident would also apply to a non-resident who’s charged with DUI in the state of Georgia. So if a person’s blood alcohol concentration is in excess of the per se thresholds or if he or she refuses blood alcohol testing at the time of an arrest, then he or she would be subject to the same license suspension that would apply to a Georgia resident. Now, all that the DDS can impose is a suspension of the Georgia driving privilege, which means the person can’t drive in Georgia.
They would also report that withdraw to the home jurisdiction and the home jurisdiction may or may not impose a license suspension there. The same is true of a suspension imposed after a conviction for DUI. The suspensions that apply for residents and non-residents are the same there; but, again, it only applies to a suspension of the Georgia driving privilege and then both the suspension and the conviction would be reported to the home jurisdiction.
A habitual violator is a person who has been convicted of three or more offenses within five years—that’s calculated between or among the incident dates. The offenses that can trigger a revocation of a habitual violator include driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, a fraudulent application for a license, a fraudulent use of a license, vehicular homicide and a few other offenses that are pretty uncommon. Typically, most clients will find themselves to be a habitual violator because of one to three incidents, just depending on their individual driving history.
A cancelation is an action taken by the Department of Driver Services when they realize that a license has been issued to someone who wasn’t eligible for it. It could be that the person had a suspension in another jurisdiction that made them ineligible; it could be that a person gave some mistaken or fraudulent information about who they are. And once a person resolves whatever the trigger was that resulted in the cancelation, then that person would be eligible to drive again. A revocation is the most serious type of withdrawal that is imposed by driver services. And that means that the person’s driving privilege is completely gone.
And there are two types of revocations: habitual violator revocations that are the result of three convictions for very serious offenses like DUI within five years; and then there are the medical revocations that are imposed because a person suffers from some sort of medical or mental health issue that makes them unsafe to drive. Suspensions are kind of between a cancellation and a revocation.
They are withdrawals of a person’s driving privilege, typically the result of some sort of bad behavior: it could be a conviction for DUI; it could be failure to appear in court to answer a ticket; it could be failure to pay child support. And then once the person serves the time on the suspension and takes whatever class is required, he or she could be issued another license.