DUI: Out-of-State (Non-Georgia) Resident

As discussed in a separate article, DUI: A Serious Offense, Georgia DDS – the ALS Process, the Administrative License Suspension (“ALS”) opens a second legal proceeding against the driver charged with DUI in the State of Georgia. The ALS license suspension issues are typically decided prior to any of the substantive issues pending in the criminal case brought by the State of Georgia against the driver charged with DUI. More importantly, the ALS suspension issues operate independently from and can be irreversibly concluded prior to any conviction or trial in the criminal case. ALS laws and regulations mandate that a driver who has been lawfully arrested for DUI must submit to the arresting officer’s request for breath testing, blood testing or urine testing. The statutorily-authorized penalty for “refusal” of this “implied consent” testing is loss of all driving privileges in Georgia for a full year with no access to a “limited” or “work” driving permit. ALS and some DUI attorneys refer to this as the “hard suspension.”

So what happens if the driver charged with DUI in the State of Georgia is an out-of-state licensee, i.e., a non-resident of Georgia, or a temporary resident of Georgia (e.g. soldier) who holds an out-of-state license (e.g. Tennessee).

Out-of-state drivers are not immune from the Georgia ALS license procedures and suspension. This is so because the ALS hearing will suspend the driver’s license for purposes of driving in the State of Georgia. But more importantly, the Georgia ALS will be communicated to the non-resident driver’s out-of-state department or agency (“home” state) which handles issuance and suspension of driver’s licensed by the other state. Georgia, the Department of Driver Services (“DDS”) handles issuance, suspension and other issues relating solely to the right to drive a motor vehicle in the State of Georgia. In your “home” state, it may be referred to as Department of Public Safety, Department of Motor Vehicles, etc. Georgia will transmit the information to that state’s governing department giving notice that you (their licensed driver) has refused implied consent testing or the driver’s license has been suspended, for example, because the driver registered a BAC above the legal limit in the State of Georgia. Many “home” states will receive the suspension or revocation action against their licensed driver if they receive such a notice from the State of Georgia, such that the suspension will be enforced in the out-of-state driver’s “home” state.

The temporary, non-resident of Georgia facing such a suspension in his or her “home” state will be precluded from obtaining a limited driving “work” permit under Georgia law. This is so because Georgia law, O.C.G.A. §40-5-64(a)(1) provides that a Georgia licensee may apply for a limited driving (“work”) permit if and only if his or her driver’s license has been suspended pursuant to several very limited situations giving rise to the suspension. Suspensions eligible for limited driving permits include suspensions for school withdrawals, misconduct, & absences; high-point speeding tickets, first or second points’ suspensions, first mandatory suspensions, and others.

However, it is the suspension in the “home” state of the driver arrested for DUI in Georgia which operates to block the issuance of a limited driving permit in the State of Georgia. When the DDS processes the issuance of the limited driving permit, the driver’s driving record will be processed and checked through the National Driver Register. This is a national computerized database, and all 50 states and the District of Columbia participate and report license suspensions and other serious driving offenses from their “home state” drivers. In fact, every state has agreed to check and honor the database and records of suspensions or revocations from other states before issuing any type of driver’s license or limited driving permit in its own state. For example, if DDS is considering issuance of a limited driving permit to a Tennessee resident who has been suspended by the State of Tennessee, and the Georgia arrest for DUI has caused the Tennessee driver’s license to be suspended or revoked in Tennessee, then he or she would be subject to a license suspension in the State of Georgia and thereby be precluded from obtaining a limited driving permit in the State of Georgia. In other words, the out-of-state licensee, arrested for DUI in the State of Georgia, and who fails to properly handle suspension of his or her license (the “ALS suspension”), will lose any ability to obtain a limited driving permit in the State of Georgia once the Georgia suspension is reported to the National Driver Register and honored by the “Home” State of the arrested driver.

Call our office right now and let us walk you through a quick determination of whether your license can be saved in the State of Georgia.

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