What Is an ALS Hearing?

What Is an ALS Hearing?

Understanding ALS Hearings: The Administrative License Suspension Process

When someone is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), they may face an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing, which is a crucial step in the administrative law system. This hearing is separate from criminal court proceedings and focuses specifically on the status of the driver's license following the arrest. The purpose of an ALS hearing is to determine whether the license should be suspended prior to any criminal conviction based on the evidence presented at the time of the arrest.

The ALS Hearing Procedure

The procedure for an ALS hearing is relatively straightforward, but it is time-sensitive and requires careful attention to detail. After a DUI arrest, the individual will receive a notice that outlines the time frame (i.e. ten days) within which they must request a hearing to challenge the suspension of their license.

Failure to act within this period typically results in an automatic suspension. During the hearing, which is usually before an administrative law judge, evidence such as police reports, breathalyzer results, and witness testimonies are examined. The burden of proof is generally on the state to show that the suspension is warranted. Individuals should be aware of the types of evidence that can be used in their defense and the legal arguments that can be made to protect their driving privileges.

Right to Legal Counsel

One of the most critical rights afforded to individuals at an ALS hearing is the right to legal counsel. Here's why an experienced DUI attorney can be invaluable:

  • Legal knowledge. DUIs and ALS hearings involve intricate laws and procedures. An attorney can explain the legal nuances of your case, the potential arguments, and relevant case law to strengthen your position.
  • Case investigation. Your attorney can gather evidence to support your case, such as police reports, witness statements, and any discrepancies in the arrest procedures or test results.
  • Defense preparation. An attorney can help you construct a strong defense strategy based on the specifics of your arrest. This may involve challenging the officer's probable cause for the stop, questioning the accuracy of the field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, or highlighting any procedural errors during the arrest.
  • Presenting your case. An attorney can effectively represent you at the hearing, present evidence and arguments persuasively, and ensure your voice is heard by the hearing officer.
  • Increased chance of success. As we mentioned, it is in your best interest to retain counsel. Because of their experience with similar cases and the legal system, having a legal representative can help you achieve a more favorable outcome in your ALS hearing compared to those who represent themselves.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety. An attorney can handle the legalities, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your case and minimizing the stress associated with the process.
  • Greater confidence. Knowing you have a qualified professional advocating for your rights can provide peace of mind and allow you to approach the situation with greater confidence.

Potential Outcomes of an ALS Hearing

The outcomes of an ALS hearing include the following:

  • Uphold the suspension. This maintains the automatic suspension of your license.
  • Reduce the suspension. This allows you to regain your license with restrictions, like limited driving hours or an ignition interlock device (IID). In some cases, a restricted license may be granted, allowing the individual to drive under certain conditions, such as to and from work.
  • Revoke the suspension. This allows you to keep your license without any restrictions, which is the most favorable outcome.

Here to Help

At Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC, we understand the complexities of the ALS process and are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and driving privileges. Our team is well-versed in Georgia's specific ALS laws and can work tirelessly to help you achieve a favorable outcome for your case.

Get in touch with our team by calling (866) 580-3089. Remember, time is of the essence.