A conviction for driving under the influence can affect a person’s job opportunities and reputation, no matter the validity of the charges. Fortunately, the State of Georgia offers ways for residents to fight a DUI case and temper the harshest consequences.

One protection drivers have for responding to the charges is the 30-day rule. Understanding this statute can allow a person to potentially retain at least some driving privileges.

How a license suspension differs from criminal charges

A DUI arrest often occurs due to a failed blood alcohol test or if a driver refuses such a test. The arresting officer provides the driver with a DDS 1205 notice. This notice serves as a temporary driving permit that also alerts the driver of the upcoming license suspension and the right to appeal.

This Administrative License Suspension is a separate process from the criminal charges the driver faces before a court. The Georgia Department of Driver Services handles suspensions while a Georgia Municipal Court deals with the possible criminal charges. As separate procedures, a driver might be able to successfully fight a suspension even though the court could impose a penalty for a DUI at a later date.

How to appeal a DUI license suspension

The DDS 1205 notice initiates a 30-day window to file a written appeal to the DDS. Failure to act results in a license suspension lasting at least one year. However, a person could incur extensions for repeated violations.

The traditional ALS appeal involves submitting a written appeal to the ALS DUI license suspension along with a $150 filing fee. This temporarily halts the suspension, leading to an administrative hearing before the Office of State Administrative Hearings.

During this hearing, an individual must present compelling evidence to dispute the suspension, addressing factors such as one’s sobriety during vehicle operation and the validity of conducted tests. The hearing officer renders a decision within five days, which the suspended driver can appeal.

Alternatively, a person may opt to request an Ignition Interlock Limited Permit. This involves installing a state-approved ignition interlock device in the vehicle and subjecting drivers to regular BAC tests. While on the IILP, a person can only drive for essential activities, and any detection of alcohol triggers an automatic 6-month license suspension.

The appropriate course of action in each case varies. Still, the 30-day rule gives a person the possibility of fighting for and retaining certain driving privileges, regardless of what a court decides about an alleged DUI.