Within 10 business days of your arrest your attorney will send a 10 day letter to the Department of Drivers Services. The 10 day letter starts the administrative license process.
The Department of Drivers Services forwards the hearing request to OSAH, the Office of State Administrative Hearings. The hearing is with a Judge from OSAH called an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge). This is a different judge and at a different court that where the rest of your DUI case will be heard.
The hearing will occur within 90 days of your DUI Arrest. During that period, you will be given an extension of the 30 day permit given to you at the time of your arrest. In the event that the 10 day letter was only needed as a precaution, you will receive a 90 day letter from OSAH saying that there is no administrative license suspension at this time. In that event you can go to the Department of Drivers Services and get a new license. So, there is no harm in requesting the hearing.
In the event the ALS Hearing is necessary, there are four possible outcomes:
- The arresting officer fails to appear. In this event, there will be a default order against the police officer who arrested you. You will be able to get your driver's license back from the Department of Drivers Services. It will be a new license, not your old license. This only affects the pre-trial suspension of your driver's license and has no other effect on the outcome of your case. In the criminal case the officer will be under subpoena and will appear. If he did not appear, the case would be reset.
- The arresting officer appears and agrees to withdraw the suspension against you without you making a reciprocal agreement. Like when the officer fails to appear, you will be able to get a new driver's license. This, again, has not effect on the rest of your case. However, it will allow you to settle or fight the rest of your case without violating any plea agreement.
- The arresting officer appears and agrees to withdraw the suspension against you with an agreement from your to enter a plea to the DUI or to a lesser charge such as reckless driving. If you agree to plea to the DUI in exchange for the ability to drive, you will have to plea to the DUI later in criminal court. If you agree to enter a plea to a lesser charge, if officer that plea you will have to enter that plea.
- The arresting officer appears and will not enter into an agreement that allows you to drive, or you want to have a contested hearing. In this event, you will have an administrative license hearing. If you will you will be able to get you license back. If you lose and in the case you took a breath test (and it's your first offense) you will lose your license for 30 days and will have a permit to drive in the meantime. If you refused testing, you will unfortunately lose your license for a year without a permit.
As you can see, there are many possible consequences during the ALS Process. It is important to hire your defense lawyer early in the process so he can be ready to properly represent you at your ALS Hearing. If you are arrested for DUI in Atlanta, call an attorney today.