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What if I have a South Carolina driver's license and I get a DUI in Georgia?

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 South Carolina Suspend My License for a Georgia DUI Conviction?

If you get convicted an out of state DUI, the consequences will almost certainly follow you to your home state of South Carolina. Under South Carolina's law, they will treat your Georgia DUI conviction as though it happened in South Carolina. See SC Statute 56-1-650. For a first offense, South Carolina will suspend your license for 6 months. 

Out of State Administrative License Suspensions after a Georgia DUI Arrest

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). South Carolina will not suspend your license because of your refusal to take the BAC test. That means, even if a Georgia cop takes your South Carolina license because you refused to provide a breath or blood sample (and gives you a notice of suspension), South Carolina will not do anything to your South Carolina license. 

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.

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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