Driving on a Suspended License in Georgia
Like all states, Georgia may suspend or revoke your driver’s license for varied reasons. A suspension typically means a temporary withdrawal of your driving privileges. A revocation typically means that your driving privileges are terminated. If you drive while you do not have a valid license, you may be subject to criminal penalties.
Reasons for Suspension or Revocation
Criminal convictions, civil issues and other matters may all result in the loss of your license in Georgia. For example, your license may be suspended for not complying with a child support obligation. The suspension may last until you show proof that you are complying with your child support order. (Georgia Code § 40-5-54.1 (b).)
Your license may also be suspended if the state identifies you as a habitually dangerous or negligent driver. (Georgia Code § 40-5-57.) Typically, a suspension may occur if you accumulate 15 points on your driving record within 24 months without attending a driver improvement clinic. (Georgia Code § 40-5-57.) Points accumulate for convictions such as reckless or aggressive driving, speeding, or violating child safety restraint laws. (Georgia Code § 40-5-57(c).) A first suspension period due to accumulated points may be for one year. (Georgia Code § 40-5-57(d).) Subsequent suspensions may be longer. (Georgia Code § 40-5-57(d).)
Driving without insurance is another reason for suspension. (Georgia Code § 40-5-70(a).) A conviction for driving without insurance may net you a suspension period that starts at 60 days for a first offense and may be longer for subsequent offenses. (Georgia Code § 40-5-70(a).)
Reinstating Your License
After your period of suspension or revocation ends, you must reinstate your license before driving again. Your reinstatement fee may vary. In some situations, it may be:
- $210, or $200 if paid by mail for a first conviction
- $310, or $300 if paid by mail for a second conviction within five years, and
- $410, or $400 if paid by mail for a third conviction within five years. (Georgia Code § 40-5-121(b)(1).)
You may need to complete other requirements and pay other fees before your license will be reinstated.
Charges for Driving After Suspension or Revocation
Driving while under suspension or revocation is a crime. (Georgia Code § 40-5-58.) If convicted, your sentence may depend on whether you have previous convictions within five years and other factors.
For certain first offenses, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. Your sentence may involve:
- between two days and 12 months in jail, and
- a fine between $500 and $1,000. (Georgia Code § 40-5-121(a).)
For certain second or third offenses within five years, you may be charged with a "high and aggravated misdemeanor," with a sentence that may involve:
- between 10 days and 12 months in jail, and
- a fine between $1,000 and $2,500. (Georgia Code § 40-5-121(a).)
In some situations, for fourth or subsequent conviction within five years, you may be charged with a felony. Your sentence may involve:
- between one and five years in prison, and
- a fine between $2,500 and $5,000. (Georgia Code § 40-5-121(a).)
In addition, your suspension or revocation period may be extended by six months if you are convicted of driving after suspension or revocation. (Georgia Code § 40-5-121(b).)
You may face different penalties if you are considered a habitual offender. (Georgia Code § 40-5-58.) A habitual offender is someone whose license has been revoked after three or more convictions for certain driving crimes within a five-year period. (Georgia Code § 40-5-58.)
Minimum and maximum penalties may be different for your situation.
Seeking Help for Driving After Suspension or Revocation Charges
Although you have now learned some basic information about driving after suspension or revocation charges, you should consider hiring an attorney if you are facing this charge. A conviction may come with serious penalties, including the possibility of jail time and fines. Your ability to stay employed, go to school and live your life may be affected. The law provides maximum, and sometimes minimum penalties, but your actual sentence will depend on your specific situation and on the view prosecutors and judges involved in your case have of the charge. An attorney who is familiar with these cases in your area will be able to give you the best advice.