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What if I have a Florida driver's license and I get a Georgia DUI?

What are the implications of a Georgia DUI arrest and conviction for drivers who have a license from a state other than Georgia? The answer to this question involves two separate areas relating to driver's licenses: (1) Suspensions imposed after a conviction for a DUI; and (2) Administrative Suspensions imposed after an arrest.

Will Florida Suspend My License After an Out of State DUI Conviction?

If you get convicted an out of state DUI, the consequences will almost certainly follow you to your home state of Florida. This is because Florida is a member of two interstate agreements: the Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC). These agreements set up a system of information sharing regarding traffic infractions and mutual enforcement of penalties.

The DLC forces member states to share information regarding driver infractions and to mutually enforce driver's license suspensions. If you get a DUI in Georgia, Georgia will tell the Florida authorities about your conviction. If your Georgia DUI sentence includes a driver's license suspension, then the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must suspend your license per the DLC.

Note: Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin did not sign the DLC. However, Georgia will still send information about your conviction and sentence to the Florida DMV. Florida will suspend your license upon receiving this notification. 

As for the NRVC, it compels the Florida DMV (called the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "FLHSMV") to suspend your license if you fail to pay or do not comply with an out of state traffic infraction. So, if you get arrested for DUI in Georgia, but fail to attend your court appearance, two things will happen. Not only will the Georgia authorities issue a warrant for your arrest, they will ask the Florida DMV to suspend your driver's license. 

Will Florida Suspend My License After a Georgia Conviction for Reckless Driving?

Yes, kind of. If you are able to get your DUI reduced to a Reckless Driving (definitely a "win" in a DUI case), Florida will send you a "Notice of Cancellation" of your Florida license. This is because, in Florida, if you get a Reckless Driving the court will likely "withhold" adjudication. Whereas, in Georgia, there is no similar ability of the court. But, importantly, you can save your license by simply taking a 4-hour Basic Driver Improvement Course and providing proof to the FLHSMV. 

  • See Florida section 322.0261(4)(a) [The department shall identify any operator convicted of, or who pleaded nolo contendere to, a violation of s. 316.074(1), s. 316.075(1)(c)1., s. 316.172, s. 316.191, or s. 316.192 and shall require that operator, in addition to other applicable penalties, to attend a department-approved driver improvement course in order to maintain driving privileges. The department shall, within 10 days after receiving a notice of judicial disposition, send notice to the operator of the requirement to attend a driver improvement course. If the operator fails to complete the course within 90 days after receiving notice from the department, the operator's driver license shall be canceled by the department until the course is successfully completed.]

How do I get my Florida license reinstated after a Georgia DUI conviction?

A firsttime DUI will result in a six-month to one-year revocation, effective on the conviction date. Before the revocation period expires, the you can apply for a hardship driver license in the county where you live in Florida. To apply for a hardship driver license you need to have proof of completion from a DUI program and treatment provider, if referred by the court, and provide said proof to their local Bureau of Administrative Reviews office.

If you wait to reinstate your license until after the revocation period ends, proof of enrollment or completion of a DUI program is required. Failure to complete the course within 90 days after reinstatement will result in cancellation of the driver license until the course is completed.

A list of DUI programs by Florida county can be found by clicking here. (Note that you may only attend a DUI program that serves the county of your current residence, the county of your current employment, or the county in which you attend school).

At the time of reinstatement the you must take all required licensing exam and pay a fee. You also must obtain form FR-44 providing bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance coverage in the amount of $100,00/$300,000 and property damage liability (PDL) insurance coverage in the amount of $50,000 or combined single limits of $350,000 per section 324.023 Florida Statute. And, you must maintain the FR-44 form for three years from the date of reinstatement of their driving privilege. 

Out of State Administrative License Suspensions after a DUI arrest

The above mentioned interstate agreements take effect if you get convicted of DUI, or if you fail to comply with the court process following an arrest. But the Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC) do not compel action when you get an administrative license suspension. Unlike a driver's license suspension imposed as a criminal penalty after a DUI trial, an administrative suspension is imposed immediately when you refuse to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, or if such a test reveals that you are over the legal limit.

But, if you get pulled over for DUI in Georgia and refuse a breath test, the Georgia law enforcement officer making your arrest has the authority to take your license ("Whenever any resident or nonresident person is charged with violating Code Section 40-6-391, the law enforcement officer shall take the driver's license of the person so charged." OCGA 40–5–67). Florida will not suspend your license because of your refusal to take the BAC test. But, if you get convicted on DUI charges in Georgia, Florida will honor any driver license suspension imposed by the Georgia criminal court.

ALS Suspension Upon Arrest

In Georgia, when you are arrested for DUI, you will likely get an administrative license suspension (ALS) immediately upon arrest. The Officer will take your home-state driver's license and give you a “1205 Form” which acts as a 45 day driving permit upon a DUI arrest. 

For an out-of-state driver, there is only one way to deal with an administrative license suspension -- request a hearing to appeal the suspension within 30 calendar days (not business days) of the service of the 1205. This is called an ALS appeal. (Out of state drivers are not allowed to install an ignition interlock (IIDLP)). 

Failure to timely file (or filing and then losing an ALS hearing) will cause your driving privileges in Georgia to be suspended in Georgia. This isn't such a bad result if you don't regularly drive in Georgia. But, importantly, your home state of Florida MIGHT adopt this suspension for your out-of-state license if they're told about it.

What if you file an ALS appeal for a Florida driver?

That depends on what happens at the ALS hearing.

If you WIN the ALS hearing: How do you get your client's Florida license back? The Florida DHSMV will require that he present a certified order of the administrative decision and allow them to get a duplicate license. One other option is, if you can somehow get Georgia DDS to send the order to the Florida DHSMV, they will be able to get a duplicate license issued.

If you LOSE the ALS hearing: If your client loses an ALS hearing where he took the breath test Florida will recognize the Georgia suspension if it gets reported to them. They will suspend him for 6 months, 30 days of which he will not be permitted to drive at all, after which he may be able to get a hardship license.  Prior to being able to get the hardship license he will have to take and complete a Level 1 DUI School.

If your LOSE the ALS hearing where your client REFUSED: what will Florida do if it is reported? His license will be suspended for 1 year, with 90 days of no driving prior to getting a hardship permit. He will have to take the DUI Level 1 School as a prerequisite to getting the hardship license.

Can he take the DUI Level I class prior to being adjudicated? Yes. If he signs up for the class prior to being adjudicated in court, his enrollment will be sufficient for a hardship license. After the case is adjudicated, he must complete the course prior to getting the hardship license.

However, note that all of these are only if the ALS loss is reported to Florda. As one Florida lawyer recognized, for Georgia driver's getting a DUI in Florida, "it is highly unlikely that your home state will take any action on Florida's administrative suspension. For example, if you live in Georgia, get arrested for a DUI in Florida, and either blow above the legal limit or refuse, your privilege to drive in Florida may very well be suspended, but your privilege to drive in Georgia will not be. In fact, I don't believe I have had a case yet where the administrative suspension followed the client to his or her home state. Often times, I will give the client the option of setting a formal review hearing, or taking no action. If, however, the client travels to Florida regularly, the hearing avenue should be pursued."See Kilfin Law Firm

What Should I Do to Be Sure?

You need to consult with an experienced Georgia DUI Lawyer to find out what your home state will do. Call us at 770-249-4405 for a free strategy session

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