Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton

What Actually Happens At The DMV Hearing?


The DMV hearing is to determine whether the officer who made the arrest for DUI had sufficient probable cause to do so. That’s the entire scope of an administrative license suspension hearing. That threshold is very low, and in most cases it is relatively easy for the officer to make a case that he or she had sufficient probable cause to arrest for DUI. Most of the officers that appear for an administrative license suspension hearing do not have an attorney with them, and they simply represent their department and provide testimony to the court.

The attorneys for those who are arrested do not have the opportunity to cross-examine the officers. The one exception to that is most Georgia State Patrol officers are represented by an attorney that handles their cases. The judge usually listens to the testimony and then issues a written ruling approximately two to five days after the hearing, which is mailed to all the parties. It’s not uncommon in 90% of those cases for the administrative law judge to rule that the officer had sufficient probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI.

Can The DMV Hearing Actually Be Won By A DUI Defendant?

Yes. Most of them are not won, but there are some that can be won. These hearings do serve a useful purpose, though. A lot of times, you can learn a lot of valuable information at these hearings that you otherwise would not be privy to. By going through that hearing, at an early stage of the case, you can sometimes demonstrate to the officer why his case is not a good DUI case and why the charge should be reduced or dismissed.

So the hearing is absolutely worth going to even though, in most cases, the administrative license suspension will be upheld, but it’s worth going to because you do get a lot of discovery and an opportunity to discuss the case with the officer and, in some cases, to convince him that a lesser or reduced charge, or even a dismissal, is warranted.

Are Restricted Driver’s Licenses Available In Georgia?

The same attorney that is representing you for your DUI will be able to help you with a restricted license, even if the suspension goes through. You are only able to obtain a limited permit if it is your first Administrative License Suspension (ALS) and it’s not a refusal case. If you refused to give a sample of your breath, blood or urine upon arrest, then you will not be entitled to any type of license permit. If it’s your second license suspension, you will not be eligible for a limited permit at all.

If The Officer States that Someone Refused To Take A Chemical Test, What Does It Mean?

A refusal means that you did not provide a sample of your breath, blood or urine for examination to see whether alcohol was in your system. When it occurs in this context, it basically triggers a one-year hard suspension of your driver’s license. By hard suspension, you are not allowed any type of limited permit whatsoever for any reason.

There are cases where individuals attempt to blow into the machine but are unable to do so for medical reasons, such as a respiratory illness. In one such case, the defendant was written up for refusing to provide a sample for the test although he offered to submit to a blood test but was refused by the officer. This is an extreme example of refusing a chemical test in Georgia.

Can Someone Ever Be Required To Get An Ignition Interlock Device Before The First Court Date?

Yes, they can be required to do so. If it’s your second DUI offense within a 10-year period, you are required to have an interlock device placed on your vehicle. You must have that interlock device installed in your vehicle and not have any problems for a period of 12 months before you can get full reinstatement of your license.

How Long Will Driving Privileges Be Suspended For Someone Who Did Submit To The Chemical Test?

There are two different suspension periods. One is an administrative license suspension, which is for 30 days, if it’s your first administrative suspension. If it’s your second administrative license suspension, your license will be suspended for a period of 18 months. Your third or subsequent license suspension for a DUI will suspend your driving privileges for a five-year period. If you are convicted of a DUI, which is a different conviction threshold than an ALS, on your first DUI conviction in criminal court, your license will be suspended for a period of 120 days. For your second criminal DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for 18 months. For your third DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for five years, and on your fourth DUI conviction, the suspension period is the same as all the others, except if it’s your fourth within 10 years, then it can be elevated to a felony in the state of Georgia.

For more information on DMV Hearing In Georgia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (229) 207-0850 today.

Paul W. Hamilton, Esq.

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