Drinking and driving is dangerous, hurts and kills people, and is 100 percent avoidable. So, just don’t do it.

However, there are drivers arrested across the state everyday who are accused of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Some end up being found guilty; some are not.

As citizens, it is important to know about changes in the law. On July 1, 2017, a major change that has already impacted many drivers in Georgia became law.

When a driver is stopped by law enforcement and investigated for DUI, he is usually arrested. At the time of arrest, the officer must read the implied consent warnings to the driver. Basically, the officer tells the driver that the officer would like to take a sample of their blood, breath, or urine. Do not confuse this with the small portable alcosensor which is considered a “field sobriety test.” If the driver refuses to provide a sample after the warnings are given, he will likely receive what is called a 1205 form.

Prior to July 1, 2017, if a driver received a 1205 form based on refusing to provide a sample or agreed to take the breath test at the police station and registered a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or over, he had 10 business days to appeal. If the appeal was submitted in a timely manner, the driver would receive notice for his Administrative License Suspension (ALS) court date. If the driver did not appeal, he would lose his license for 12 months.

Today, Georgia operates under a new system that provides two choices. The new law also requires the lawyer and driver to make early decisions. Obtaining the dash cam video quickly is critical.

CHOICE 1 – When there is a refusal or a BAC of 0.08 or over, the officer can take the driver’s license and begin the ALS procedure by giving the driver the 1205 form. As of July 1, 2017, the 1205 serves as a temporary license that is only valid for 45 days.

The new law extends the time to appeal from 10 business days to 30 business days. The cost of the appeal is $150, made in writing, usually written by the lawyer, and should be sent by certified mail.

If an appeal is not filed, then the license is suspended. If an appeal is filed, then the case goes before an appointed ALS judge for a hearing to determine several things such as whether the stop was legal, were the implied consent warnings read properly, and were there any 4th Amendment violations. This hearing is separate from the criminal case.

CHOICE 2 – Instead of appealing the ALS, the driver can just apply for an Ignition Interlock Limited Permit (IILP). To get the permit, the driver must:
1. pay a $25 permit fee;
2. apply within 30 days of the arrest;
3. surrender his or her license; and
4. execute an affidavit waiving the ALS hearing.

The permit is good for one year and must be installed on the driver’s vehicle.
Like other limited permits, there are conditions. These include, but are not limited to, driving to and from work, driving for medical care, school, treatment, court, community service, and other court related activity.

Some drivers, like people under 21, CDL licensees, drivers who were convicted of one or more DUIs within the past 5 years, and drivers with out of state licenses, are not eligible for an IIDLP. They are stuck with CHOICE 1.

Be safe on the road. It’s up to us to protect ourselves and our people. If you are accused of DUI in the future, take immediate action.

Jason W. Swindle Sr. practices criminal and DUI law in the west Georgia area. He has two offices; one in Carrollton, Ga and the other in Douglasville Ga.