Serious charges may result from any charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia. These charges may result in consequences such as jail time, fines, and a driver's license suspension. In many cases, a driver who is charged with DUI learns from his or her experience and never drives intoxicated again.
Those who drive under the influence and are charged multiple times may face the habitual violator designation under Georgia law. Whether this is your first or fourth DUI arrest, you need an experienced Georgia DUI attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
Habitual Violators - What Are They?
A Georgia habitual violator is a status, or an identification, not a separate criminal offense. To be designated a habitual violator, a person must have been arrested for and charged with a DUI offense three (3) times within a five (5) year period of time. Once those offenses have been committed, a driver will be labeled a habitual violator.
As a result of the habitual violator status, your driver's license will be suspended for five (5) years. Unlike other DUI charges, you are unable to apply for any permit to drive until you have served at least two (2) years of your license suspension.
Obtaining the Probationary Permit
After serving two years of the suspension, a driver can obtain a permit for a probationary license which can last for up to three years. To get that permit, the driver must show:
- The driver has completed necessary risk reduction or treatment programs;
- The driver has not been convicted of certain offenses while on habitual violator status;
- Proof of insurance;
- Extreme hardship if the temporary permit is not granted (usually because of work or school);
- A sworn affidavit stating that the driver does not abuse alcohol or use illegal substances.
Even if your probationary license is granted, certain restrictions may be placed on your ability to drive, such as where you may go and during what times you may travel. You should pay close attention to any restrictions placed on your ability to drive as violations can result in further punishment.
Driving While a Habitual Violator - The Consequences
Serious consequences arise when a driver chooses to operate his or her vehicle while labeled a habitual violator. You could face revocation of your temporary license, jail time, and high fines as a result of any violation.
Four levels of a habitual violator offense are possible:
- Violation of Probationary License Terms: This occurs when you have a permit to drive, but exceed the scope of the limitations placed on your permit.
- Driving Without a License After Suspension, but Before Obtaining New License: A driver who fails to get a new license but drives in spite of that can be charged with a misdemeanor.
- Arrested for DUI While Under Habitual Violator Status: This is the most serious variation of violating your status. You can face felony charges, prison time, and high fines. You may also face additional charges under the Georgia habitual violator statute.
- Driving Without a License While Under Suspension: This is a crime even if you are not intoxicated because you are not permitted to drive. You can be charged with a felony offense, which can result in a prison sentence.
Protect Your Rights
If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, an experienced Georgia DUI attorney can inform you of the possible consequences of your case. Make sure your legal rights are protected.
A habitual violator status can significantly change your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.