The penalties from a DUI can be severe, and some of them can hit sooner than you think. You could face a suspended license before you ever set foot in a courtroom to enter your plea.

Two cases stem from a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest in Georgia. The first, the criminal case, can eventually have repercussions on your ability to drive. But the second, the civil proceedings, could result in a suspension before you make it to court for your DUI charge. The suspension isn’t set in stone, however, and there are ways you could keep your ability to drive after your arrest.

Closing the driver-side window

You have 30 days from your arrest to register intent with the Georgia Department of Drivers, either for an application for an ignition interlock limited driving permit or an administrative license hearing (ALS). If you don’t act in your window, you could be off the road after the permit your arresting officer gave you expires 45 days from your arrest.

Barrier to ignition

The ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer for your vehicle. You’ll need to blow into the mouthpiece and register an acceptable BAC before starting your car, or to continue driving. To go down this route, you’ll need to waive your right to an administrative hearing. You could be required to drive with the device up to a year, regardless of a DUI conviction. If you get a traffic citation during your limited driving permit, you could still receive a suspension.

Suspending beliefs

If you opt for the hearing, it will usually go one of three ways:

  • The officer may present evidence to show a need to suspend your license
  • You can meet an agreement to dismiss the suspension
  • The officer doesn’t appear, and you could see the dismissal of your suspension

Make sure you’re ready with a plan to face the issues that come with a potential license suspension. Knowing your rights can make all the difference in keeping your automotive freedom.