What is a Habitual Violator in Georgia?
You will be declared a Habitual Violator in Georgia if you have committed three major offenses such as DUI within a 5 year period of time. Once declared a Habitual Violator, if nothing else happens, your license will be suspended for five years. After being suspended for at least two years, you will gain the ability to get a special HV permit to drive.
Let's dive into the violations obtained within a five-year period because it is more than just three DUIs within five years that can cause someone to be declared a Habitual Violator.
- Homicide by Vehicle (1st and 2nd Degrees) - O.C.G.A. §40-6-393
- Any Felony using a Motor Vehicle
- Hit & Run or Leaving the Scene of an Accident - O.C.G.A. §40-6-270
- Racing on Highways or Streets - O.C.G.A. §40-6-186
- Fleeing or Attempting to Elude an Officer using a Motor Vehicle - O.C.G.A. §40-6-395
- Unlawful or Fraudulent Use of or Application for a License or ID card - O.C.G.A. §40-5-120, O.C.G.A. §40-5-125
- Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Revoked, Canceled, or Suspended Registration - O.C.G.A. §40-6-15
- Any Felony Forgery Conviction relating to an ID Document - O.C.G.A. §40-5-54
- DUI - O.C.G.A. §40-6-391
- Child Endangerment while DUI - O.C.G.A. §40-6-391(l)
- Feticide by Vehicle (1st Degree) - O.C.G.A. §40-6-393.1
- Serious Injury by Vehicle - O.C.G.A. §40-6-394
Convictions for any of the above offenses, three times within a five-year period, (measured from date of arrest to date of arrest) will result in notice to the violator of their Habitual Violator status and the suspension of their driver's license.
What are the penalties for driving while being declared a Habitual Violator?
First and foremost, driving AT ALL while being declared a Habitual Violator is a felony. This has nothing to do with being caught DUI or breaking the law in any way - simply driving while being a Habitual Violator is a felony.
There are four different levels of Habitual Violator Criminal Offenses in Georgia.
1. The first level of HV offense is being caught driving after your five-year suspension has ended, but you have not, however, reinstated your Georgia license. You will be charged with a Misdemeanor Habitual Violator offense. The penalties for conviction include up to twelve months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
2. The second level of HV offense is violating the Habitual Violator permit with an interlock device. With the permit, you can legally drive, but there are certain limitations. You are allowed to drive if you are going to your job, performing job duties, receiving medical care, attending school, attending drug or alcohol abuse meetings, or attending court or any court-ordered program. If you violate these limitations, you will be charged with a Misdemeanor Habitual Violator offense. You may face losing your Habitual Violator permit for the remainder of your five-year suspension. The penalties for conviction include up to twelve months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
3. The third level of HV offense is driving as an Habitual Violator without a limited permit. If you have been declared an Habitual Violator, and you are caught driving, you will be charged with a felony. You will face up to five years in prison. A felony conviction means that you will lose your right to vote and your right to own a gun.
4. The fourth level of HV offense is the most serious level of Habitual Violator offense. It's got two parts. The first part is being charged with driving as an Habitual Violator without a limited permit (with an interlock device). The second part is not only being caught driving, but also driving under the influence or committing another serious offense while being an Habitual Violator.
If you have been charged with any of the above offenses while being declared a HV or if you have committed multiple violations in the list of offenses that can lead you to being declared a HV in Georgia, you must act now. There are Georgia DUI Defenses that may apply to your case. Contact a Georgia DUI Lawyer today.