If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia, you may have received an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) notice. An ALS hearing is critical to your defense and can significantly impact your driving privileges. Keep reading to learn more about what ALS hearings are, their importance, and how to navigate this process to protect your driving privileges.
What is an ALS hearing?
An ALS hearing is a separate legal proceeding that takes place outside of the criminal court system. ALS hearings are handled through the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH). Once a letter is sent to the Georgia DDS to appeal the suspension of a driver’s license due to a DUI arrest, a hearing may be scheduled. If a hearing is scheduled, the hearing is scheduled with OSAH and presided over by an Administrative Law Judge.
The purpose of the ALS hearing
The primary purpose of the ALS hearing is to review the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest and determine if the administrative suspension of your driver’s license is justified. This hearing is not about whether you are guilty or innocent of the DUI charge; instead, it focuses on issues related to your driving privileges.
Implied consent and ALS hearings
As mentioned in previous blogs, Georgia has an implied consent law. This means that by driving in the state, you have automatically given consent to chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) if lawfully arrested for a DUI. If you refused to take a chemical test or if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was above the legal limit during testing, your license could be suspended administratively, even before your criminal case goes to court.
ALS hearing process
An ALS hearing process involves the following steps:
- Notice of Suspension: After your DUI arrest, the arresting officer will likely confiscate your driver’s license and issue a DDS Form 1205, which serves as a temporary driving permit for 30 days. This notice informs you of the impending license suspension and your right to request an ALS hearing within ten business days.
- Requesting the ALS Hearing: To challenge the administrative suspension, you or your attorney must request an ALS hearing within the specified timeframe. Failing to do so will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
- The Hearing: The ALS hearing is typically held within 30 days of your arrest, and you have the right to present evidence and witnesses to support your case. During the hearing, the DDS hearing officer will consider various factors, including the legality of the arrest, whether you were informed of your rights and the chemical test results.
- Hearing Outcome: If you win the ALS hearing, your driver’s license will not be suspended administratively. If you lose, your license will be suspended for a specific period, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Why you need a lawyer for an ALS hearing
Facing an ALS hearing can be overwhelming, but it is a crucial step in protecting your driving privileges following a DUI arrest. Engaging the services of an experienced DUI defense attorney is essential to navigate this complex process successfully. Your attorney can help build a strong defense, challenge the suspension, and protect your rights throughout the ALS hearing. Remember, time is of the essence, so act promptly to request your hearing and seek competent legal counsel to safeguard your driving privileges.
Have questions? Give me a call.
Navigating the criminal legal system can be confusing. I have decades of experience fighting for clients at all stages of their cases, including clients who request ALS hearings after being suspected of driving under the influence. I know the players in the Georgia criminal court, and I am here to help you throughout the life of your case. If you have questions about ALS hearings or have legal questions, give me a call today!