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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

I Have An Out of State Driver's License and I Got a DUI: What To Do?

Question: I got arrested forDUI in Atlanta. I was in Atlanta for a convention with some colleagues from work. I work at a technology company that has an office in Atlanta. We went to some clubs and bars in Buckhead and Midtown. I was supposed to be the designated driver but my friends got very drunk on craft beer, gin and vodka shots. I only had a couple of margaritas at Verde Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant, and a few beers at Maggiano’s. We hit the Buckhead Diner and Fat Matt's Rib Shack.

The Atlanta police officer said that he saw me swerve and almost hit another car. He said it was a Bentley. I really don’t think I was that drunk but my friends were smoking pot and it was hard to see out of the car with all the smoke in the car. I told them not to smoke marijuana but they didn’t listen to me.

When the cop pulled us over he asked me if I had been smoking. I said I’d just been drinking but that we were going back to the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Buckhead. I had to drop off the other guys at the Mandarin Oriental, The St. Regis, and the InterContinental.

The police officer made me do some field sobriety tests like look at my eyes and he made me walk a straight line by taking just 9 steps. I fell during a test but it’s really because I have bad knees from playing football in college in the SEC and in the Big 10.

The problem is my driver’s license. My license is from out of state. I’m from Florida, not Georgia. I live in South Florida, near Miami. What should I do about my driver’s license? What will the state of Georgia do? What will Florida do?

Answer: We would need to know some more information before thoroughly answering your questions (such as is this your first DUI? did you take a blood, breath or urine test?). And we would like to view the videotape of your performance on the field sobriety tests. However, assuming you are convicted of DUI and you possess an out of state license (in this case a Florida license), then your Georgia driving privileges would be suspended for a period of time. That is, you would not be allowed to drive in Georgia. If you do not have a Georgia driver’s license, then you would not be eligible to receive a Georgia limited permit.

Depending on your record in Florida, your Florida license may also be suspended. But if this is a first DUI for you, you may be granted some type of driving permit by the state of Florida. The state of Florida, acting through its Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), would make the ultimate decision as to the impact of an out of state DUI on your driver’s license. Even If the DUI charge is reduced, perhaps to reckless driving, the Florida DMV would make a determination as to how that charge would impact your license based upon Florida law. As for your Georgia driving privileges, a reckless driving conviction would cause points to accrue to your driver’s license, but it is unlikely that a single reckless driving charge would suspend your license (assuming it does not put you over the maximum points in Florida).

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