You only have 10 days to fight suspension!
After you have been arrested and charged with a DUI offense, you have ten days to schedule a hearing to fight your license suspension. The request for a hearing must be written and must be received within ten days of your arrest. If you've been arrested for DUI, you may already feel defeated; an administrative license suspension (ALS) hearing probably sounds hopeless – even intimidating. Don't become apathetic. An arrest and a conviction are two different things. At The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our Atlanta DUI attorneys want to help you fight for you rights and your freedom. You license can be suspended for years if you plead guilty to your charges and don't schedule a hearing.
Length of Suspension
Several factors determine the length of your license suspension. In a first DUI offense, (in which no accident or injury occurred) your license will be suspended for one year. In this instance, you may attempt to get a restricted license in one month. If you are charged with refusing a breath, blood, or urine test, your license will be taken away for one year without the possibility of obtaining a restricted license or permit. This is called a hard suspension. If your license is suspended, you have the right to appeal this decision. An attorney can represent you at the hearing, speak on your behalf and present evidence in your favor.
Factors Considered at ALS Hearings
There are several legal issues determined by the ALS Hearing:
- Whether the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you actually drove while impaired;
- Whether or not your driving caused and accident resulting in a serious injury or fatality;
- Whether you were informed of your implied consent rights/ the consequences of refusing to be tested;
- Whether or not you refused the BAC (breath) test;
- Whether or not you BAC test registered at .08% or above if an adult, .02% or above if less than 21 years old, or .04% or above if the holder of a commercial driver's license
- Whether the tests were administered correctly and by a qualified person;
- Whether you knew of your right to an independent BAC test by a qualified person of your own choosing.
After these issues have been settled, a decision will be made regarding your driver's license suspension. During the hearing, an attorney may be able to demonstrate that police did not have reasonable grounds to arrest you. Even if you lose the hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision.
Suspension vs. Revocation
License suspension and revocation are not the same. When your license is revoked, you are no longer allowed the privilege of operating a motor vehicle. Once the revocation expires, Department of Driver Services (DDS) will allow you to apply for a new driver's license and the revocation is withdrawn. On the other hand, license suspension only withdraws your driving privileges temporarily. After your suspension has expired, it will be reinstated; you do not have to apply for an entirely new license.
Other Reasons for Losing Your License
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not the only reason your license can be taken away; many other crimes, misdemeanors and situations may result in suspension or revocation. For example, if you are convicted of vehicular homicide, your license will be suspended. Additionally, any felony involving a vehicle constitutes a suspension. If you are convicted of street racing, hit and run, attempting to the flee a police officer, felony forgery relating to an identification document, or driving without motor vehicle insurance, the court may decide to suspend your driving privileges.