Georgia drivers need to be aware that DUI law in the state has recently changed. While there aren't any additional consequences for first-time DUI offenders, there are new options available. A new law, HB 205, was passed in 2016, but only went into effect on July 1, 2017. Previously, drivers had just 10 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing in order to try and keep their licenses from being suspended. Now Georgians have a 30-day window within which this hearing can be requested or, in the alternative, those arrested on suspicion of DUI can choose to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles.
If a driver requests a hearing, then the driver retains his or her license until the hearing takes place. At the hearing, the driver (through a skilled Cherokee County DUI attorney, like Richard Lawson) can make various arguments such as the officer lacked probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI. If successful, the driver will not lose his or her driving privileges.
If a driver chooses to install an ignition interlock device, the driver must first apply for the ignition interlock permit at the Georgia Department of Driver Services. Within 10 days of receiving the permit, the driver must install the device. The length of time that the device must be in your car varies. The period of time that the driver has to keep the ignition interlock device installed can be up to a year if the driver refused to take a chemical test and just four months if the driver consented to a test. And this period of time could change depending on the outcome of the driver's criminal case.
It is important to note that if drivers do nothing they will have their license suspended and will not be able to drive until the suspension period is over. The length of time that a driver's license is suspended is usually 120 days if the driver submitted to a chemical test and up to 12 months if the driver refused to take a chemical test. In addition, while a restricted license is available to drivers who took the chemical test, it is not available to those who refused one.
Whether the hearing or the ignition interlock device is a better option for a driver will depend on the facts and circumstances of their case. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Georgia, don't face the criminal justice system alone. Contact Cherokee County DUI attorney Richard Lawson today for a free consultation.