Do I Need to Send a 30-Day Letter in My Gwinnett County DUI Case?
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Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on December 30, 2022.
What Is a Georgia 30-Day Letter?
After being pulled over and arrested by a police officer for DUI, there are certain steps you have to take to avoid having your license suspended. For example, in Georgia, you have 30 days after your DUI arrest to submit a letter and appeal the administrative suspension. It is known as the 30-Day Rule, hence the name 30-Day Letter.
Previously, this letter was known as the 10-Day letter in DUI cases. However, the Georgia law changed in 2017, leaving more time for the arrested drivers to appeal the license suspension.
Alternatively, you can request the installation of an ignition interlock device in order to keep your driving privileges. It’s crucial to realize that these penalties are part of the administrative penalties drivers in Gwinnett County face and aren’t related to the criminal part of the process. Administrative penalties are imposed by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).
Whatever you decide to do, retaining the services of a DUI lawyer experienced with a DUI Process in Gwinett County can benefit your case.
What Happens With Your Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest?
During the course of your Gwinnett County arrest on suspicion of DUI, the law enforcement officer can ask you to submit to a field sobriety test or a blood, breath, or urine test.
If some of these tests show that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08 grams or more over the legal limit or if the officer believes there is enough evidence for a DUI case, you will be arrested.
Your driver’s license will be confiscated, and you will get a yellow DS-1205 form. The form explains how to appeal the administrative license suspension you are facing and, at the same time, serves as a temporary driving permit. Thus, you must carry the form at all times while driving.
It is important to keep in mind that a temporary driving permit is only valid for 45 days after being arrested for DUI. Once you appeal within 30 days, you may get your temporary driving permit extended for an additional 90 days upon receiving confirmation from the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH) that a final ruling has not been reached.
Since the hearing usually occurs 45 to 90 days after the 30-day letter is sent, the driving permit extension is usually required.
What Happens at the Administrative License Suspension Hearing?
The Georgia 30-day letter in which you request an administrative hearing has to be submitted to the Georgia DDS along with the $150 filing fee. Sending the letter to the DDS on time is crucial. Certified mail ensures that the letter is received in a timely manner and that you get confirmation that it’s been received. Upon submitting the request, you will receive a letter stating the hearing date and time.
ALS hearing requests are actually requests for a hearing before an administrative law judge to challenge your suspended license. When you submit a request, your license suspension will be halted until the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings has conducted the hearing.
At the hearing, the arresting officer typically testifies first. A number of issues can be addressed, such as whether the officer had a reasonable belief that you were driving under the influence, and whether the driver was informed about their implied consent rights and the consequences of refusing to take a field sobriety test or any other chemical test administered by the state.
The judge will also want to hear whether the test or tests were properly administered and whether the driver refused the test or the test results indicated the BAC was over the legal limit. The decision can be expected within five business days. If it is favorable to the driver, it means their license will be reinstated. If it’s not, it will result in a one-year license suspension.
Requesting an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Drivers also have the option to request an installation of an ignition interlock device limited permit from the Georgia DDS. The IID requires that drivers blow into the device before starting their vehicle.
This request also has to be submitted within 30 days. If the test indicates that your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit, you will be required to have the device installed for at least four months.
If you refused to take the test, you would have to keep the device installed for a full year, regardless of whether you were found guilty or innocent at your DUI criminal trial. Drivers will be responsible for expenses involving the installation of the device, calibration, inspection, and final removal from their vehicle.
However, this option won’t be available if the driver has a prior DUI conviction within the past 5 years or have any other revocation or license suspension. It is also not available to drivers younger than 21.
Also, Gwinnett County typically requires drivers to complete a drug and alcohol awareness and treatment program for an IID.
What If You Don’t Request a Hearing?
If you don’t do anything, your Georgia driver’s license will be suspended for a year. The DDS Form 1205 will serve as your temporary driving permit for 45 days. Your driving privileges will be suspended on the 46th day after your DUI arrest. You will also lose the chance to contest the suspension of your license in the future.
How Can You Get a Hardship License in GA?
A hardship license is administered by the court order to a driver who has had their driver’s license suspended or revoked. However, only certain Georgia drivers with suspended licenses can be eligible for a hardship license. For example, only drivers who had their license suspended for a first or second DUI conviction may be eligible.
However, these drivers must prove to the court that they will suffer hardship without their driving privileges. The court will need to be convinced that they cannot go to work or school, get to medical facilities, or attend a court-ordered program due to their inability to drive.
Bear in mind that these licenses permit the drivers to operate their vehicle during the period of suspension only to make a livelihood or sustain life’s essentials. In order to get a hardship license, the driver will have to visit their local DDS office to apply.
An experienced DUI lawyer can assist you with the hardship license process, so do not hesitate to contact one.
How Can a Georgia DUI Attorney Help?
Gwinnett County DUI arrests can be much more serious than drivers realize. In Gwinnett County, a DUI arrest triggers two different legal proceedings, each with severe consequences and penalties. The Gwinnett County DUI Court process can result in jail time and fines, as well as a one-year suspension of your license.
These procedures or the ALS hearing should not be undertaken without the assistance of a DUI attorney. A Gwinnett County DUI attorney can adequately contest the arresting officer’s testimony and potentially help you keep your driver’s license intact.
To learn more about the 30-day letter in your Georgia DUI case, contact Philip Kim Law, P.C., and schedule a free consultation.