What will happen at my Georgia ALS hearing if I do not have an attorney?

slides for web - FTA.009Depending on where your ALS hearing takes place, the procedural practices may vary.  Most ALS hearings are time sensitive, which means that the Judge will call the calendar right at the designated time of the court appearance.  If you are not present when your name is called, the Judge may enter a default judgment against you.  Give yourself ample time to find the courthouse and the assigned courtroom, as often it can be difficult to know whether your are in the right spot if it is your first time attending an ALS hearing.

Once your name is called, if your officer is not present, the Judge will likely offer to rescind the license suspension – which means you win.  Thereafter, once DDS has received notice, you should be able to reinstate your regular license (if you have a Georgia license and there are no other holds on reinstatement).

If your officer is there, the Judge may invite you to have a conversation with the officer.  Many officers are willing to take some time to explain a few of your options, and try to help you figure out the best possible solution.  However, you are at an extreme disadvantage during this conversation, so you should proceed with caution.   The officer may suggest that you enter into a withdrawal agreement that requires you to sign off on a guilty plea to DUI.  You will likely not know what those terms will include, whether jail will be part of the deal, or how long you may have to be on probation.  The officer is NOT the prosecuting attorney, and it is only the prosecuting attorney who has the authority to make an offer regarding the DUI terms.  It is very dangerous to make such an agreement at this early stage without the assistance of an attorney.

If you don’t know what to do after speaking with the officer, you may want to approach the Judge and request a reset to give you an opportunity to speak to an attorney.  Depending on the Judge, and the officer, your request may be granted.  You should know that there is no requirement that the Judge reset the hearing, and in many cases the Judge will refuse such a request.

At this point, you may feel pressured into going forward with the hearing.  If you are not an attorney, or you are not familiar with the rules of evidence and the scope of an ALS hearing, it may be nearly impossible for you to prevail at the hearing.  More often, what will happen is you actually reveal information that will hurt your chances in court.  If you are sure you want to represent yourself, you should consider observing ALS hearings at prior calendars to give you an idea of what will happen and what will be expected of you at that hearing.

If your license is critical to your job or necessary for your daily routine, it is important that you DAEMON_1405317_9664-3bdo your best to make sure you are well represented at your ALS hearing.  Talk to a DUI attorney before attempting to represent yourself.

Why did the officer write more than one ticket for DUI?

In Georgia, it is common for an officer to write more than one ticket for a single arrest.  Just because you got more than one DUI ticket does not automatically mean you could, or would be convicted of more than one DUI.

Normally, a person can be convicted of only one DUI at a time, however, there are multiple ways the State can try and prove that one DUI.  The multiple tickets you received typically refer only to the manner in which the State may try to prove the single act.  For instance, if you submitted to the officer’s breath test, he may have given you a ticket that references “DUI less safe” as well as a “DUI per se” ticket.  Or, the tickets may reference A(1) and A(5).

Click here to learn more about the DUI references on your ticket.

What will happen to a Florida license with a Georgia DUI conviction?

FLORIDA (850) 487-4303
Bureau of Records
P.O. Box 5775
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5775

If your client wins an ALS hearing in Georgia, how do you get your client’s Florida license back?

The Florida DHSMV will require that he present a certified order of the administrative decision and allow him to get a duplicate license OR if you can get Georgia DDS to send the order to the DHSMV, he will get his suspension cleared and be able to get a duplicate license.

If your client wants to avoid physically appearing in Florida to retrieve a duplicate license, he can get one issued online. Have him go to www.flhsmv.gov/html/dlnew.html click on “On Line Services” and then click on License and ID Card renewal, for information on how to do this once his suspension has been cleared.

If your client loses an ALS hearing (first offense) where he took the breath test what will Florida do?
Florida will recognize the Georgia suspension if it gets reported to them. They will suspend him for 6 months, 30 days of which he will not be permitted to drive at all, after which he may be able to get a hardship license.  Prior to being able to get the hardship license he will have to take and complete a Level 1 DUI School.

If your client loses an ALS Refusal hearing (first offense), what will Florida do if it is reported?
His license will be suspended for 1 year, with 90 days of no driving prior to getting a hardship permit. He will still have to take the DUI Level 1 School prior to getting his hardship license. If he signs up for the class prior to being adjudicated in court, his enrollment will be sufficient for a hardship license. After the case is adjudicated, he must complete the course prior to getting the hardship license.

If your client has either a prior refusal (with the current one making it his second) or if he has 2 prior DUI (or equivalent) convictions on his record that Florida knows about, he is not eligible for a hardship license during any portion of the suspension period.

If your client applies for a hardship license or license reinstatement, he will be asked, under oath, about his driving record and prior convictions.

False answers may result in felony fraud charges.

Upon a conviction of Reckless Driving, Florida should not take any action against the licensee.

Keep in mind that even if your client gets a Georgia license post-arrest but prior to conviction, there is a chance that Florida may still suspend once they receive word of the conviction. Make sure the court (where the case is being adjudicated) has the new Georgia license information at the time of conviction so that it reduces the likelihood that Florida will be notified of it (otherwise the court clerk may use the license information recorded on the original ticket).

DISCLAIMER: The author is licensed to practice law only in the states of New York and Georgia. All information regarding state-specific action against licensees is based upon research and emails and conversations with other attorneys from various states. Further, the information provided below describes what may happen to a licensee of the home state if convicted in that same state (unless otherwise specified).

The information included in these materials is intended as a quick reference and a starting point for accessing the appropriate information applicable to your client’s license.

What are the license consequences in Georgia of a DUI if you are under 21?

Under O.C.G.A. §40-5-57.1, if this is your first DUI, the law imposes a six-month suspension of your license IF your BAC (blood-alcohol content) was less than 0.08 (the legal limit for a driver under 21 is 0.02).

If your BAC was equal to 0.08 or greater, then there is a one-year license suspension.

If you are convicted of a second DUI withing five years, then there will be an eighteen-month suspension.

For the third DUI in five years, it will be a five-year suspension.