In Georgia, when you are arrested and charged with DUI, in all likelihood you will have to appear before two separate courts. The first court is a criminal court where you will answer to the misdemeanor offense of DUI. This is a criminal case in which the state of Georgia accuses you of the offense of DUI.
The second court you may have to appear in is a civil court. This is a non-criminal case in which the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services (DDS) www.dds.ga.gov attempts to prevent you from driving pending the outcome of the criminal case. Essentially, it is an attempt by the DDS to suspend your Georgia driver’s license. This process begins after you are arrested for DUI when the arresting officer fills out a document called a “DDS Form 1205.”
The arresting officer is required to fill out this form and forward it to DDS, if at the time of your arrest, you submitted to a state administered chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine and you had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams percent or more. If the arresting officer alleges that you “refused” to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine, he will also fill out the DDS Form 1205.
From the date that you receive this form, you have thirty (30) days to request a hearing and thereby prevent the automatic suspension of your privileges to drive in the state of Georgia. There is a $150.00 fee charged by the state of Georgia to request a hearing. A certified check or money order in the amount of $150.00 made payable to “DDS” must accompany your request for a hearing. If you do not request the hearing within thirty (30) business days, your license to drive in Georgia will be suspended. This written notification requesting a hearing is commonly referred to as a “Thirty (30) Day Letter”. After requesting the hearing, you will receive notice as to when and where your hearing (commonly referred to as an “Administrative License Suspension Hearing” or “ALS hearing”) will be held. It is important to note that this hearing in most cases will be in a different court and heard by a different judge than your criminal DUI case.
Remember, time is of the essence. You only have thirty (30) days from the date you receive this form to request a hearing. It is your request for hearing that stays the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.