Being declared a habitual violator is not a crime but instead a status. According to O.C.G.A. §40-5-58 a "habitual violator" means any person who has been arrested and convicted within the United States three or more times within a five-year period. In Georgia, you can become a habitual violator by committing three serious driving offenses within a five-year period. Driving Under the Influence is one of the offenses consider a serious driving offense.
When a person becomes a Habitual Violator, (commonly referred to as “HV”) their license is revoked, and it is unlawful for them to operate a motor vehicle. Furthermore, any person who is considered to be a habitual violator and who operates a motor vehicle will be subject to motor vehicle forfeiture by the State. The motor vehicle is subject to forfeiture will be seized immediately upon discovery by any law enforcement officer. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391.2
If the police seized your vehicle, based on a being a Habitual Violator, our Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys will file the appropriate legal response. The State cannot take a person's property without due process of law. In the answer, there are many potential defenses we can argue against the civil forfeiture.
If the vehicle is the only family car and the family would be subject to hardship as a result of the forfeiture, there is a possibility that the court would not seize the vehicle. Additionally, if the vehicle is owned by an innocent spouse or family member, the Habitual Violator Forfeiture will not be allowed.
The court may also order the title to be transferred to another family member who agrees to only use the vehicle for employment or family transportation purposes.
If any of these defenses apply in your case, you need a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney's assistance immediately. Many times, we can negotiate a settlement that results in the vehicle being returned to the family of the lawful owner.
Without an appropriate response, the vehicle will be sold and the proceeds will be taken by the government. Additionally, a person can be left paying off an automobile loan without the use of the car!
Contact A Georgia DUI Attorney:
Being declared a Habitual Violator will have a significant impact on your life. It gets even worse when your vehicle becomes forfeited to the state. If you have had your vehicle taken away because of your status as a habitual violator, you need representation now. Richard Lawson has over 20 years of criminal defense experienced.
Our Georgia DUI Attorneys are highly knowledgeable and will assist you in formulating the best possible defense. We understand that this process is overwhelming and time-consuming and that is why we pride ourselves on being accessible to our clients 24/7. We will ensure that you understand all your options. Contact us today.
All civil forfeiture is government theft of personal property. My position does not excuse the criminal acts of others. I am merely pointing out that when we allow the government to steal property, we are giving up our personal sovereignty. There is no legal or moral basis that allows the government to take the lawful property of someone else. When a person who has been declared a Habitual Violator breaks the law, they should be personally punished. That is the appropriate response to violations of the law.
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