Your Georgia driver's license can be revoked or suspended for a variety of reasons. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you risk criminal charges and the possibility of having to pay fines and serve jail time.
This article covers some of the most common reasons for suspensions and revocations and the penalties you'll face for driving on a suspended or revoked license in Georgia.
When your license is suspended or revoked, it generally means that the state has taken away your driving privileges. In other words, while the suspension or revocation is in place, you can't lawfully drive.
In many states, "revocation" and "suspension" are used synonymously and mean the same thing. However, some states use the term "suspension" to mean a temporary loss of privileges and "revocation" to mean the permanent loss of privileges. But even in states where revocation is permanent, the driver can typically apply for reinstatement after a certain period of time.
Georgia follows the general rules explained above. When your license is suspended your driving privilege is temporarily withdrawn for a specific period of time. When your driver's license is revoked, your driving privileges are terminated and withdrawn until the end of the revocation period.
Under Georgia law, there's a long list of violations and conduct that can lead to license suspension or revocation.
A number of criminal convictions can result in license suspension or revocation. These include:
And, regardless of whether you're ultimately convicted of a DUI, you'll face license suspension if you refuse alcohol testing in violation of Georgia's implied consent law.
Georgia uses a traffic violation point system. Typically, a suspension can occur if you accumulate 15 or more points on your driving record within 24 months without attending a driver improvement clinic. Points accumulate for convictions such as reckless or aggressive driving, speeding, or violating child safety restraint laws.
Although unrelated to driving, your license can 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.
Driving while under suspension or revocation is a crime. The penalties for a conviction depend on a number of factors, including whether you've had any convictions within the past five years.
For certain first offenses, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. A conviction generally carries:
The conviction will also result in a six-month license suspension.
For certain second or third offenses within five years, you can be charged with a "high and aggravated misdemeanor," with a sentence that generally involves:
The conviction also carries a six-month license suspension.
In some situations, for fourth or subsequent convictions within five years, you can be charged with a felony. Your sentence may involve:
In addition, your suspension or revocation period may be extended by six months if you are convicted of driving after suspension or revocation.
You may face different penalties if you are considered a habitual offender. A habitual offender is someone whose license has been revoked after three or more convictions for certain driving crimes within a five-year period.
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:
Depending on the situation, you may need to complete other requirements (such as paying child support) and pay other fees before your license will be reinstated.
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.