There are several reasons a person's driving privileges may be suspended administratively in Georgia. An administrative license suspension (ALS) infraction belongs to a class of violation requiring a hearing before a judge of the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH).
The driving infractions, including DUI related, for which a person may have their license subject to an ALS proceeding are:
- Refusal to submit to a test to determine the driver's alcohol concentration (OCGA §40-5-551)
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level requires suspension (OCGA §40-5-67.1)
- Georgia residents who have accumulated at least 15 points in any consecutive 24-month period (OCGA §40-5-57)
- Failure to Respond to Citation (OCGA §40-5-56)
- Noncompliance with Child Support Order (OCGA §40-5-54.1)
- Failure to pay the Super Speeder Fee (OCGA §40-6-189)
- Ignition Interlock Device Permit (OCGA §42-8-112)
- Medical Revocation (OCGA §40-5-59)
- Safety Responsibility (OCGA §40-9-3)
Suspensions Pursuant to an Implied Consent Refusal
An Implied Consent suspension is one of the toughest revocations of one's driving privileges a Georgian can face. These suspensions go onto a driving record when, upon being charged with DUI, the arresting officer completes a DS-1205 form and sends it to DDS indicating that the arrested driver refused to submit to a state administered chemical test of their blood, breath, urine or other bodily substances.
The driver accused of refusing the state test in a DUI must appeal the petition to administratively suspend their license within 30 days of the arrest or otherwise, on the 46th day after their arrest, the suspension will go into effect for ONE FULL YEAR.
There is NO temporary or limited permit available for an Implied Consent suspension save, under some circumstances, the inconvenient and expensive Ignition Interlock Permit. The Ignition Interlock Permit is particularly harsh in that, not only does a driver have to blow into an alcosensor every time they wish to drive their car, and not only is it expensive to have installed and maintained by a certified technician, but it lasts for one full year regardless of what happened to the underlying DUI.
The only way to avoid the harsh repercussions of the Implied Consent ALS are to appeal and successfully challenge the arresting officer's petition in an OSAH court.
Per Se Administrative License Suspensions
When an adult driver with non-commercial driving privileges is arrested and determined to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more, their Georgia driving privileges may be administratively suspended even before they go before a judge or jury. This may happen if the arresting officer completes and submits the proper paperwork, and the suspension will be for a length of time commensurate with the arrested person's driver's history. Driver's under the age of 21 may be suspended on a per se ALS petition if their BAC is 0.02 or over. Commercial drivers may be suspended if their BAC is 0.04 or more.
Considering the adult, non-commercial driver, if it is that person's first DUI in 5 years, then the administrative suspension will be for at least 30 days AND they can obtain a limited driving permit. If it is their second DUI in 5 years, then the suspension is for 18 months AND no limited permit is available. However, per OCGA § 40-5-64.1(c)(1)(B), where that person is enrolled in an approved substance abuse program, they may obtain an ignition interlock permit in 120 days. For a third DUI in 5 years, the suspension period is itself for 5 years and only a probationary license, not a full reinstatement, is available after a minimum suspension period of 2 years from the date of conviction of the underlying DUI.
Lastly, it is important to note that pleading under the Georgia First Offender statute to a traffic offense will not prevent a license suspension. One advantage of a First Offender plea is that, if the sentence terms are completed successfully, the person pleading will not have a conviction for the offence on their record. However, one may not even plead First Offender to a DUI.
1OCGA is the abbreviation for Official Code of Georgia Annotated. The OCGA is a 53 volume compilation of all the statutory laws of the State of Georgia. Other laws that may affect Georgians are federal statutes, the Georgia and U.S. Constitution, the opinions and orders issued by judges, and the ordinances of the various counties and cities throughout the state.
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