Under Georgia’s implied consent law, all drivers are obligated to take a chemical test if requested by an officer who has arrested you for DUI. If you refuse to take the test required, usually a blood or breath test, the arresting officer is trained to mark you as a ‘refusal’, and submit paperwork to the Georgia Department of Driver Services in an attempt to suspend your Georgia driver’s license, or take away your privilege to operate a vehicle on Georgia’s roadways. Even if you have never before been arrested for a DUI charge, a ‘refusal’ to submit to the officer’s chemical test will have your license suspended for one year, with no work permit, or hardship license available. Quite simply, you will not be able to legally drive in Georgia for twelve months after your arrest, unless your DUI charges are dropped, or your attorney is able to successfully negotiate a deal with the arresting officer at an administrative hearing in order to salvage your driver’s license privileges.
After being arrested and charged with refusing Georgia’s testing of your blood or breath, you only have 10 business days from your date of arrest to submit an appeal letter to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) demanding that the state give you a hearing, with the arresting officer present, before they suspend your license. Georgia DDS now also requires that you send a money order for $150.00 along with your request for an administrative license hearing. If your request is timely received, and the hearing granted, you will be notified by mail of the hearing date and location. This hearing will determine whether you will retain your right to drive- having an attorney is a must for this hearing, with so much at stake.
At your administrative suspension hearing, there are typically three possible outcomes. The first outcome is that after hearing the evidence, the Judge affirms the arresting officer’s decision to arrest you for DUI, thus suspending your license for one year. The second possible outcome is for the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to rule in your favor, finding that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to arrest you for DUI, or finding that you did not refuse testing. The third outcome is to negotiate a deal with the arresting officer where your license will not be suspended, usually in exchange for a guilty plea to the charge of DUI once your case comes up in the criminal court. The administrative hearing has no bearing on the criminal case you are facing for a DUI arrest. It simply determines whether your license will be suspended for one year for refusing the required blood or breath testing.