When an officer arrests you for driving under the influence (DUI), you will be asked to submit to a blood/alcohol test. You may either comply or refuse. If you comply and your blood/alcohol content is 0.08 or greater, then the officer will confiscate your driver’s license and report the incident to the Department of Driver Services (DDS). The officer will do the same if you refuse the test. Your driving privileges could be suspended for a year if you don’t act quickly.
The officer will complete the DDS Form 1205, and after you receive it, you have ten business days to request an administrative hearing to prevent your license from being suspended. This request is known as the “10-Day Letter” and must be sent to the DDS by certified mail with a $150.00 filing fee. The DDS will notify you of the hearing, which is usually scheduled within 30 days after they receive this letter.
If you don’t send this letter, your license will be suspended.
The Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing is heard in a civil court and is separate from the criminal aspect of your DUI. The judge will review the evidence, which will probably be provided by the arresting officer, and you will be permitted to cross-examine the witness, testify, and submit evidence. The judge will determine whether your license will be suspended or not.
While you can appear in court without a DUI lawyer, you are more likely to achieve better results with a criminal defense attorney advocating on your behalf. Your attorney will know what to include in the 10-day letter and the timelines in which documents are due. In court, your attorney will argue for you and question the arresting officer. Your attorney will determine if your arrest was legal, question the test results and the apparatus which generated those results, and ensure that the officer instructed you about your implied consent rights.
You can find more information about the statute regulating the above by researching O.C.G.A § 40-5-67.1