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If I am planning on pleading guilty for a DUI, should I worry about the Admin hearing?

Carrollton, GA |

I spoke with our family attorney today who said my case is not looking favorable. I got pulled over for failure to maintain lanes (I was looking for my purse in the floor) and refused all testing except the field sobriety, even though I had not drank for awhile. My lawyer said that I can drive for 30 days from the paper given to me, but would be suspended after. So should I bother with the Admin hearing? Thank you!

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Absolutely! One of the finest DUI lawyers in Georgia is located right there in your town. Allen Trapp is his name AND there is not a knowledgeable DUI lawyer in town who would not agree that they would confer with him if facing a case in the Carrolton area. You may find his profile and numerous accolades and endorsements there. I am quite sure your family attorney would admit there is much he does not know about the science and procedures involved in the defense of a DUI case.

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Posted

Depending upon what type of test you took or refused the ALS suspension could be greater than the suspension for pleading guilty to the DUI. I would suggest you consult with an attorney.

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Posted

Absolutely. Since you refused the test, your license will be suspended for 12 months with no driving permit if you do not request an administrative hearing and you plead guilty to DUI. If you request the hearing, you may be able to prevent that 12-month suspension, therefore allowing you to shorten your license suspension and obtain a limited driving permit. You really should talk to an attorney who has experience defending DUI cases. Act quickly before the 10-business day deadline runs out to request the administrative hearing.

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Marny is absolutely right. You have the ability to negotiate with the officer who arrested you at the administrative hearing: if you can convince him to withdraw that suspension (or sign an agreement that you are willing to enter a plea to a DUI) you will be able to obtain a limited permit for any plea or subsequent conviction to DUI. You can't get a limited permit with a refusal suspension, so it's in your best interests to speak with an EXPERIENCED DUI ATTORNEY. Your family attorney may not be familiar with this field of practice; you owe it to yourself to at least speak with a knowledgeable source. I agree with Mr. Young: talk to Allen Trapp. He's the best in West Georgia, and I know that from knowing his professional reputation and seeing his work. . . .

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Posted

Yes. Request the Admin. hearing. In Georgia, if defendants don’t act within 10 days of their DUI charge, they can have their drivers licenses automatically suspended for up to a year! This process is known as Administrative License Suspension (A.L.S.). You may stop it if you fight. But first, we ought to answer four important questions:

1. Did the Officer File a 1205 form?
You should have been given a copy of the 1205 form. If you don’t know, hire a lawyer to find out. Indeed, the status of this form is vitally important. If the 1205 Form was not filed, then your driving privileges will remain until the resolution of your criminal case. You should assume the form was filed, unless you have clear evidence to the contrary.

2. Have You Waited Longer than 10 Days?
Contact and hire a lawyer within 10 days, or you will likely lose your driving privileges. To save your driver’s license, you must request an Administrative License Suspension hearing. We request one for all of our defendants, even if the ten-day period has lapsed. Significantly, Georgia law does contain one exception to 10-day rule: "delay not due in part to the reasonably avoidable fault of your client." Otherwise, your suspension will go into effect on the 31st day after your arrest.

3. Did You Submit to Chemical Testing?
If you refused chemical testing, you will normally lose your license for a year. The only ways to avoid this outcome are as follows: beating the DUI charge outright or getting the charge reduced to a lesser offense, or if the officer withdraws the A.L.S. suspension. If you submitted, however, you can lose your license for 30 days while your criminal case is pending.

4. Have You Had a Prior Administrative License Suspension?
A prior ALS affects both the length of the current suspension and the availability of a permit. This is why a lawyer needs your driver’s history as soon as possible. Broadly speaking, the penalties go up dramatically with the 2nd and 3rd suspension in five years:
• Two ALS in five years – 3 year suspension; early reinstatement after 18 months with proof of DUI School and payment of Reinstatement Fee. No interlock device can be installed after 12 months.
• Three ALS in five years -- 5 year suspension; probationary license available after 2 years pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 40-5-58.

The A.L.S. hearing will probably occur after 30 days, but our request for that hearing will prevent any suspension from going into effect until the actual status of your license is determined at the ALS hearing. A win at this hearing will preserve your driving privileges until the resolution of your criminal case. We use many legal arguments to fight the suspension, including: The hearing wasn’t held in 30 days; The suspension wasn’t initiated by a sworn report; There was no reasonable, articulable suspicion existed to justify the stop; No probable cause was present before the DUI arrest; Implied consent warnings were not given at the time of arrest; Insufficient or defective implied consent warnings were given; There was no actual refusal of chemical tests; Requests for independent tests were not reasonably accommodated;
Double jeopardy exists because ALS license reinstatement is excessive; thus, it for punishes defendant twice for the same offense; Testing device was not shown to be in “working order;"
Individual conducting the test did not possess a valid permit; In blood tests, the officer cannot show that the person taking the blood was qualified under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-392.

In short, there are many legal means by which to challenge your suspension. But a loss by ineffective counsel will suspend all privileges in Georgia, even if you hold an out-of-state driver’s license. Choose experts.

We know that A.L.S. hearings – even those that are not successful in the short-run – can be important keys to winning at trial. At Cerbone DUI Defense, we use the A.L.S. hearing to win at trial, should a trial be necessary.

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