DUI law is vast, complex, and changes constantly. For those reasons, the scope of this column is limited to the most common DUI arrests. This is when the driver is over 21 years old, possesses a Georgia driver’s license, and refuses to provide a sample of their blood or breath to law enforcement.
Being arrested for DUI is stressful and unsettling. Sometimes, the driver may be heavily intoxicated, distracted by going to jail, bonding out, and still having to function at work and home. For these and other reasons, the “paperwork” given to the driver after the arrest can get misplaced or forgotten.
If you are given a piece of paper known as the 1205 form (a yellow letter sized copy), ensure that the document becomes the primary immediate concern. Failure to do so may result in a serious penalty before you set foot in a courtroom; the suspension of your driver’s license.
After almost every DUI arrest in Georgia, the driver is informed by the arresting officer of the implied consent law. The officer is required to read from an orange card or verbally advise the driver of this law at the time of the arrest.
The purpose of the implied consent notice is to request a sample of the driver’s blood, breath, or other bodily fluid to test for drugs and/or alcohol. (This should not be confused with the small portable alcosensor that may be offered before the driver is arrested. The portable alcosensor is a field sobriety test and should always be politely declined.)
If you refuse to submit a sample after being advised of implied consent, you will likely receive the 1205 form.
The form generally advises the driver that his or her license may be suspended for 12 months because of the refusal.
However, if you act immediately after arrest, you may be able to keep driving.
There are two ways to accomplish this:
1. IID Limited Driving Permit - In 2017, Georgia DUI law was significantly changed to provide an ignition interlock device (IID) option that allows eligible drivers to keep driving under limited circumstances. You can now elect to have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle instead of exercising the second, and previously only option, which is filing an appeal of your Georgia driver’s license suspension.
An IID will disable the vehicle from starting if it detects the presence of alcohol on the driver’s breath. A driver must blow into a breath collection tube that is connected to the interlock device before the vehicle will start. This IID is connected to your vehicle’s ignition wiring.
However, you only have 30 days after your arrest date to apply for an IID at a Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) office.
Once your permit request is approved, you only have 10 days to have the device installed at an authorized interlock device installation and monitoring company.
If you choose the IID limited permit option, you waive your right to pursuing the suspension appeal.
2. ALS Hearing - If you choose to appeal the suspension, the old “10-day rule” no longer applies. You now have 30 days to deliver the appeal and a $150 check to DDS. If this is timely completed, an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) court date will be scheduled.
The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether or not the officer complied with important aspects of the DUI investigation. If, for example, the officer failed to read the implied consent notice, the appeal would be successful. Additionally, if the officer does not appear, your lawyer can make a motion to rescind which will be granted by the judge. You keep driving with full privileges until the case is resolved in court.
When deciding which route to take, speak with your lawyer first about the unique circumstances of your case.
Please keep in mind that there are no exceptions in Georgia that will extend the 30 days with either option. If no action is taken on your part, your Georgia driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months with no limited permit.
As I mention in every DUI related column, consider simply not drinking and driving. Sober driving saves lives and sets an example for younger generations to follow.