You get pulled over on the way back from a Georgia Revolution FC match. This has never happened to you before, but you know that you had some drinks at the game, so you’re instantly worried about a DUI arrest. You know that the ramifications are serious: Fines of up to $1,000, jail time of up to a year, a license suspension, etc.
But how is this going to impact you immediately? You know that your license could be suspended for a year, for instance, and that you’ll have to pay a fee to get it reinstated. What you don’t know is when that suspension starts. Are the officers going to take your license as soon as they arrest you, on the grounds that you’re too intoxicated to drive? Or do you have to be convicted to lose that license?
The administrative suspension can happen immediately
While some states require conviction to take someone’s driver’s license, Georgia has its own policy. Essentially, if you were to refuse the breath test or blow a reading over the legal limit (0.08% BAC for most drivers) then the police can take your license right away.
When they do it, they’ll give you a temporary permit instead. Once you’re released — you may spend the night in jail first so that you’re sober when you get back in the car — then you can drive with this temporary permit for the next 30 days. You also have 10 days in which to appeal the suspension of your standard license. If you do not, it will be suspended.
In short, you can lose your license the same day that you get arrested, but you generally can still drive afterward. If you are convicted, then the full suspension goes into effect. This could last for the next year, but you typically get a chance to apply to get your license back after 120 days.
The system can get complicated
As you can see, it’s never just as simple as knowing that you may lose your license. The whole system can get fairly complex and there are some key deadlines that you do not want to miss. Be sure you know exactly what steps to take.