Experienced ALS Hearings & License Suspensions Attorney in Georgia

License suspension is automatic in Georgia if arrested for DUI. You have 30 days from the date of your arrest to file an appeal of your driver’s license suspension or to elect to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. By filing a 30-day appeal, you might be able to retain your driving privileges until the administrative law judge at the hearing issues a decision. An ignition interlock device can be installed to prevent license suspension. The device requires drivers to test their breath alcohol content and pass before they can start the care. While driving, the device might request additional breath tests to maintain evidence of continued sobriety.

You should not let this 30-day period expire without consulting an experienced DUI defense lawyer. A well-constructed 30-day letter can open avenues to defend your case. It takes time to draft that letter to conform to the facts of your arrest. And if you are considering installation of an ignition interlock device, you need some time to consider all its implications.

If you fail to act within 30 days, you lose your right to an administrative license suspension hearing—ALS. These are such important decisions that before you make them, you should consult with an experienced license suspension attorney who knows the ALS hearing process, the consequences of failing to appeal for automatic license suspension, the constraints of installing an ignition interlock device, and the real impact of loss of driving privileges on your life now and in the future. 

Your failure to act to preserve your right to drive in a timely fashion can be devastating. Doing nothing—not filing an appeal within 30 days—means a license suspension and if there was a refusal to take a State-administered test of breath, blood, or urine, that suspension is for a full 12 months. 

Everything you do after an arrest for DUI continues to have consequences down the road. Here’s where a skilled and competent Georgia DUI ALS attorney makes a difference. Michael Fulcher Law knows DUI law, with over 15-years of experience as a prosecutor, public defender, and privately retained defense counsel. That experience includes a deep understanding of how to defend your driving privileges as well as criminal procedure, and familiarity with all the players—police, prosecutors, and judges—in Morgan, Greene, Putnam, Walton, Taliaferro, Newton and Jasper Counties. 

Michael Fulcher Law will fiercely defend your driving rights at an ALS hearing, honestly assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, and advise you on a course of action that is in your best interests. 

What are Administrative License Suspensions (ALS) Hearings in Georgia?

Upon arrest on DUI charges or failure to submit to State-administered breath, blood, or urine tests, your driving privileges are automatically suspended. To preserve your right to drive while a current prosecution for DUI or DUI refusal continues, you must file an appeal within 30 days of arrest. With that filing is a mandatory $150 fee. 

An ALS Hearing is also available to drivers with more than 1 DUI in the past 5 years, commercial driver’s license holders, drivers under the age of 21, and drivers licensed to drive in another state.

At the time of arrest for DUI or DUI refusal, you will be given a form from the arresting officers called a DDS Form 1205. This form is required if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. Your request for an ALS hearing is often called the 30-day letter.

The ALS hearing is the first place to defend your rights. Depending on the facts of your individual case, there are a variety of ways your DUI criminal defense lawyer can represent you at this hearing. 

The ALS hearing is the first place to examine the quality of evidence the prosecution has secured against you. Challenges can be made, once again, depending on the specific facts of your case:

  • Did the arresting police officer have reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving while impaired?
  • Did your driving cause any accident where there was serious injury or a fatality?
  • Were you properly read your implied consent rights, which lists the consequences for refusing to take a State-administered breath, blood, or urine test?
  • What tests did you actually refuse and are these tests reliable for measuring intoxication?
  • What were the blood alcohol levels, if a test was administered—0.08% for an adult driver, 0.02% for a driver under the age of 21, 0.04% for a commercial driver holding a commercial driver’s license?
  • How were the tests administered, by a qualified person, under what circumstances?
  • Were you informed of your right to have an independent test administered at the time of your arrest?

What’s at stake at the ALS hearing is your continued ability to drive in the state of Georgia pending the outcome of your DUI or DUI refusal prosecution. A license suspension means that your driving privileges are temporarily withdrawn and are automatically reinstated once the suspension period is over. You do not have to reapply for a new license. This is different from a license revocation, which requires a wholly new application for a driver’s license before you can begin to drive again. If you lose at the ALS hearing, you have a right to appeal.

After a Georgia DUI, do I need an attorney to request an ALS hearing?

You can request a hearing yourself by submitting the request form found on the GA DDS website. However, early intervention by experienced legal counsel can preserve your rights and defenses. Imagine what might be lost if an ALS hearing is not requested or handled incorrectly. The ALS hearing is the first place your DUI defense lawyer can determine the quality of evidence gathered by the prosecutor, the competency of the police, and the reliability of any witnesses. This can be an all-important opportunity for your DUI defense lawyer to cross-examine the arresting officers and to get a transcript of their testimony. That cements what they can say at any subsequent trial, which opens possibilities for plea negotiation or further trial strategies. You don’t want to miss out on this screening opportunity, if it will benefit your case.

Many cases of DUI and DUI refusal present viable opportunities to contest the prosecution’s version of what happened. Only skilled criminal defense lawyers know how to look at the police and toxicology reports with an eye towards seeing irregularities and possible illegalities. 

  • Were you stopped at a DUI checkpoint? Did the checkpoint conform to constitutional requirements of fairness?
  • Were your rights fully respected at the time of the arrest? Were you given Miranda warnings in addition to any DUI implied consent warnings?
  • Were you read the required implied consent warning at the time you refused to submit to any roadside or station house breath, blood, or urine tests? Did you actually refuse or were the police officer’s actions ambiguous?
  • Were roadside field sobriety tests administered? What was the training of the officers and what tests were used?  Do you have any physical limitations and/or medical conditions that would hinder your ability to perform these tests?
  • Did you rescind any consent to testing or rescind your refusal to test during the encounter?
  • Were you informed of your right to independent testing and were you afforded an opportunity to have that independent test?
  • Were any other rights violated during the stop and arrest?

The benefit of the ALS hearing might not seem evident to you as a novice to the DUI prosecution process. However, this is also a time when your defense lawyer and the prosecutor can have an initial sit-down to discuss what lesser charge might be available as a negotiated plea agreement. This would save you money and time, and perhaps lessen any penalties, especially if this is a first offense.

CALL US NOW
FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

When you need a lawyer after being charged with a DUI or criminal offense or as you explore your options for filing a personal injury claim, look no further than Michael Fulcher Law’s impressive background, and ultra-attentive client service. To learn more about how we can help you achieve the best legal solution possible for your circumstances, call our criminal defense law firm at (706) 438-1555 or contact us online, and schedule your free consultation today.

CALL NOW (706) 438-1555

What About Installing an Ignition Interlock Device on My Vehicle as a Way to Avoid a License Suspension?

Another option is to decide to install an ignition interlock device on your car in place of a license suspension. Once again, this is an important decision that should only be made in consultation with an experienced DUI or DUI refusal defense lawyer. 

The purpose of an ignition interlock device is to prevent you from drinking and driving. To start your car, you must perform a breath test in the vehicle. 

The ignition interlock works like this. You blow a deep breath into the device upon sitting in the driver’s seat. If your blood alcohol level is 0.025% or higher, the device will prevent your car from starting. After 5 minutes, you can try again. If your blood alcohol level remains high, your car will not start for 30 minutes. Once that interval has passed, you can try again until your blood alcohol is within legal range. While driving, the interlock device will also intermittently require additional testing. The driver has 5 minutes to respond to the prompt by pulling over and breathing once again into the device. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle lights will flash and the horn will blare until the driver pulls over and stops the car.

If you request such a device, you must go to the Georgia Department of Driver Services to apply for an ignition interlock permit. There are significant costs involved with submitting to use of this device: 

  • Installation fee: $100-$200
  • Monthly fee: $60-$80 
  • Device maintenance fees: variable
  • Removal fee: $250

The length of time required to keep the ignition interlock device on your car depends on the underlying offense. The device must remain on hour car for at least 120 days—that’s 4 months—if you took a breath, blood, or urine test and it registered in the illegal range. However, for any driver who refused to submit to a DUI test, the interlock device must be on your car for 12 months. Even if you win your case, and the DUI is dismissed or you plead to a lesser charge, the penalty for DUI refusal is that you must keep the interlock device on your car for the full 12 months.

The right to drive with an ignition interlock device is limited. Any subsequent stop for even a minor traffic offense might result in suspending the interlock permit, which means suspending your limited right to drive.

Do not let important deadlines pass! This is a serious decision with serious liberty and financial implications, so now is the time to call or email Michael Fulcher Law for a free consultation. Your free consultation with Michael Fulcher Law is confidential, covered by attorney-client privilege. Your frank answers to all questions will assure a realistic assessment of the charges so that we can advise you on your rights, defenses, and how to proceed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If your administrative license suspension was the result of failing a breath, blood, or urine test, your license will be suspended for at least 30 days, if this is a first offense. During that time, you can attend a Georgia DUI school. Once completed, you can apply for a license reinstatement, with a reinstatement fee of $210, and obtain a restricted license after 30 days.
  • If your automatic license suspension was the result of refusing to take a breath, blood, or urine test, your license will be suspended for 12 months with no limited driving privileges allowed.

If your license is suspended or revoked, you should contact a skilled, and competent DUI, and DUI refusal lawyer to discuss all the options available to you. This consultation needs to happen before the 30-day window to appeal the suspension expires.

There are several ways your driving privileges can be impacted: suspension, revocation, and cancellation.

Suspension means that your driving privileges have been suspended temporarily. Once the applicable suspension period expires, your driving privileges will be reinstated upon application.

Revocation means that your license to drive has been revoked. In order to legally drive again, you must apply to the Georgia Department of Driver Services to get a new driver’s license, and retake all the driving tests.

A cancellation means that your driver’s license has been canceled as a result of incomplete or inaccurate information supplied on your driver’s license application. You can reapply with a complete, and accurate application.

If your automatic license suspension was the result of failing a breath, blood, or urine test, your license will be suspended for at least 30 days, depending on whether this is a first offense. During that time, you can attend a Georgia DUI school. Once completed, you can apply for a license reinstatement, with a reinstatement fee of $210, and obtain a restricted license after 30 days.

If your automatic license suspension was the result of refusing to take a breath, blood, or urine test, your license will be suspended for 12 months with no limited driving privileges allowed.

Georgia’s Implied Consent law requires you to submit to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances in order to determine you are DUI. Police officers must read the Implied Consent Warning when arresting an individual being arrested for DUI refusal. An officer’s failure to properly read the Implied Consent warning can result in dismissal of a DUI case.

Only the State-administered breath test—the Intoxilyzer 9000—or giving a blood or urine sample at the police station are required as a condition of having a driver’s license in Georgia. You are under no legal obligation to submit to an Alco-Sensor breath test, a handheld breath test, or a field sobriety test roadside.

An Alco-Sensor breath test only measures if there is any alcohol present on your breath. It cannot measure other intoxicants besides alcohol. Getting a positive reading on an Alco-Sensor test is not evidence of intoxication, and cannot be admitted in court. Police use it as a screening method upon stopping a driver.

A handheld breath test is also unreliable because it can register different levels of alcohol depending on the depth of the breath expelled.

Field sobriety tests are also not required because the interpretations of how a driver performs are too subjective.

However, police can become hostile if you refuse to take these tests when pulled over. Many times police will immediately arrest you so that they can bring you to the station to administer the State-approved Intoxilyzer 9000 test or compel blood or urine samples. When refusing to submit to any roadside test, speak up loudly, and distinctly so that your refusal is picked up on any vehicle-mounted camera or body camera on the police officer.

The police must read you the warning that a refusal to submit to an Intoxilyzer 9000 test or blood or urine tests will result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license with 30 days to request an ALS Hearing to appeal this action.

An Intoxilyzer 9000 test only measures for the presence of alcohol. You are only required to provide two sequential breath samples for the Intoxilyzer 9000 test. If the breath samples register as adequate, the officer cannot ask you to provide more. Only if the breath sample registers as insufficient, are you compelled to provide another breath sample.

AMAZING WORK

“Mr. Fulcher has been tremendously helpful with my case. Since hiring him he has consistently returned my calls as quickly as he can. We discussed an ideal outcome, and I set about doing exactly as he said. Following his advice we were able to get a very favorable outcome. He is always quick to answer any questions, and has stayed very engaged with me throughout this ordeal. Michael provides excellent counsel, and I would recommend him to anyone!”

— TOM

READ MORE REVIEWS