Protecting Your License in Georgia
Getting arrested for driving under the influence can have an immediate impact on your privilege to drive in the State of Georgia. If you have been arrested for DUI, you must act quickly or risk losing your license for up to one year.
The Ten Day Letter
DUI cases are really two cases in one: the administrative case, dealing with your driver's license, and the criminal case. When you have been arrested for DUI, you cannot simply sit back and wait for your court date. If you do, there is a good chance you will receive a letter in the mail telling you that your license has been suspended.
To preserve your ability to drive while your criminal case is pending, you must first send a letter within 10 business days to the Department of Driver Services demanding a hearing on the possible suspension of your license. If you do not submit a 10 day letter, you risk losing your license for up to one year.
The letter you submit must detail all the manners in which you intend to challenge the suspension of your license, including the stop of your vehicle, the legality of your arrest for DUI, the manner in which the implied consent warnings were administered and whether or not the arresting officer complied with your request for an independent test.
It is never a good idea to represent yourself in court, and drafting your own 10 day letter can be very risky because you may omit the information required to properly contest the suspension of your driver's license.
Refusing the Blood/Breath Test
The implications of the administrative hearing are greatest for drivers who are accused of refusing to submit to the State-administered test of your blood, breath or urine. If you fall into this category, failing to submit your 10 day letter, or losing your administrative hearing, means your license will be suspended for one year.
An experienced DUI lawyer like Ben knows that there are many methods of challenging an alleged refusal. Did the officer read the implied consent warnings when he was supposed to? Did he read them the way he was supposed to? Did the driver actually refuse? If so, did the driver thereafter take back, or rescind, the refusal? These are issues that need to be analyzed in every single DUI case.
The Administrative License Suspension Hearing
Once you properly submit your 10 day letter, you will then receive notice of a court date for your hearing. There are 14 administrative judges across the State that preside over these hearings.
If you fail to appear at your hearing, judgment is defaulted in favor of the arresting officer and the Department of Driver Services i.e. your license will be suspended immediately. Similarly, if the arresting officer fails to appear and has not provided the court with a legitimate reason for his or her absence, judgment is defaulted in your favor i.e. you win. You will then be able to get a new copy of your driver's license.
The key part of the administrative process occurs when the arresting officer does appear at your hearing: negotiating. If you are unrepresented, you will likely be overmatched by the officer, who has significant experience with this process.
Ben has earned the respect of the law enforcement officers he has encountered in all of his DUI cases. This enables him to negotiate favorable outcomes for his clients, where they keep their driver's license and can then focus on fighting the criminal charges in court. Contact Ben 24/7 at 404-985-9772.