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Losing your driving privileges

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The State of Georgia considers dangerous and negligent drivers to be a direct and immediate threat to the welfare and safety of the general public, and it is in the best interest of the citizens of Georgia to immediately remove such drivers from the highways of this state. Therefore, the Department of Driver Services is authorized to withdraw the license or driving privileges when evidence is obtained that the licensee is a habitually dangerous or negligent driver of a motor vehicle (from Georgia law §40-5-57)

Types of Withdrawals

The driver’s license of any individual, the eligibility to obtain a driver’s license, or the ability to legally operate a motor vehicle in the State of Georgia may be impacted by one or more of the following actions:

Cancellation

The Department of Driver Services is authorized to cancel a license if the applicant fails to give the required or correct information needed at the time application is made, or if the individual becomes otherwise ineligible after application has been made. A resident may reapply for a license once the requirements have been satisfied and the resident is otherwise eligible.

Revocation

If a license is revoked, all driving privileges are terminated and withdrawn until the end of the period of time prescribed by the formal action of the Department. At the end of the revocation period, a resident may apply for a new license. Non-residents may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges.

Suspension

If a license is suspended, all driving privileges are temporarily withdrawn for a specific period of time or until reinstatement requirements have been completed. At the end of the withdrawal period, a resident may apply for reinstatement and return of the license or the eligibility to obtain a license. Non-residents may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges.

Disqualification of Commercial Driver’s License

If a commercial driver’s license is disqualified, all privileges to operate a commercial motor vehicle are withdrawn for a specific period of time. At the end of the disqualification period, if a licensee holds a CDL license that is not expired, the licensee’s commercial privileges will be automatically restored without any action required, provided that the licensee is otherwise eligible to still maintain a commercial driver’s license. If the licensee does not hold a CDL at the expiration of the disqualification period, the licensee’s ability to apply for a CDL will be restored.

A disqualification of commercial driving privileges does not, by itself, result in the suspension or revocation of a licensee’s privileges to operate a NON-commercial motor vehicle. However, many offenses that result in a commercial disqualification also result in a non-commercial suspension, though the periods of withdrawal may differ. In Georgia, it is possible to lose commercial driving privileges for LIFE upon the conviction of certain offenses. More information related to the commercial driver’s license program is available on our website at www.dds.ga.gov.

Reporting Convictions

Georgia courts are required by law to report the conviction of any offense that will result in a negative impact on a licensee’s driving privilege or that is otherwise required to be posted to the permanent driving history of an individual. This includes most traffic-related offenses as well as certain non-traffic related offenses (including alcohol and controlled substance violations).

When the DDS receives a conviction for a Georgia license holder, the record is updated to reflect the conviction. If a conviction is received for an individual who holds a license from another state or is the resident of another state, the conviction information will be forwarded to the licensing authority of that state. If a non-resident, or a resident of Georgia who does not have a driver’s license, is convicted of certain offenses, the eligibility to obtain a Georgia driver’s license and/or driving privileges in Georgia will be suspended.

Convictions reported to the Georgia DDS by licensing authorities or courts in other states and nations will be placed on the driving record of a Georgia licensee or resident. The Department will treat such convictions as if they had occurred in this state for the purpose of imposing license withdrawals.

Types of Suspensions

The Department will suspend the driving privileges of an individual in any of the following non-conviction situations:

  • Refusal to take a chemical test for intoxication;
  • Failure to appear in court or respond to a citation;
  • Non-payment of Child Support;
  • Non-payment of the Super Speeder fee;
  • Safety responsibility;
  • Medical revocation;
  • School attendance (under age 18);
  • Parent requested revocation (under age 18).

The Department is required by law to suspend the privileges of an individual for a conviction of any of the following offenses:

  • Homicide by vehicle;
  • Feticide by Vehicle (1st degree);
  • Serious injury by vehicle;
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
  • Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer;
  • Fraudulent or fictitious use of, or application for, a license/ID card;
  • Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident;
  • Racing;
  • Failure to Pay for Gasoline;
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked, canceled, or suspended registration;
  • Felony forgery related to an identification document;
  • Driving without insurance;
  • Driving while license is suspended, revoked, or canceled;
  • Any violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act;
  • Refusal to weigh commercial motor vehicle;
  • Violation of license restriction (at the discretion of the trial court).

In addition to the offenses listed above, the license and/or driving privileges of an individual under the age of 21 on the date of the conviction will be suspended for the following offenses:

  • Reckless driving;
  • Aggressive driving;
  • Purchasing an alcoholic beverage;
  • Attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage;
  • Underage possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle;
  • Misrepresenting age for the purpose of illegally obtaining any alcoholic beverage;
  • Misrepresenting identity or using false identification for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining an alcoholic beverage;
  • Speeding 24 mph or more over the speed limit;
  • Unlawful passing of a school bus;
  • Improper passing on a hill or a curve;
  • Any 4-point offense;
  • Four or more points in 12 months prior to age 18;
  • School attendance or conduct violations (under age 18).

Implied Consent

Georgia’s Implied Consent law requires you to submit to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at the request of a law enforcement officer for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year during which time no limited permit is available. Your refusal to submit to the required testing may be offered into evidence against you in a court of law.

If you submit to testing and the test results indicate a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the legal limit, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the required state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing.

The legal limit for BAC varies depending on the circumstances:

  • Driver operating a non-commercial motor vehicle, age 21 or over – .08 or higher;
  • Driver operating a commercial motor vehicle – .04 or higher;
  • Driver under age 21 – .02 or higher.

The Points System

The Department is required by law to suspend the Georgia license of an individual for an accumulation of points resulting from certain convictions. Points are assessed against Georgia residents for out-of-state violations which would be assessed points if committed within Georgia. Georgia licenses will be suspended as follows:

  • For any person who accumulates 15 or more points within 24 months;
  • For any person under the age of 21 with a conviction for any 4-point violation;
  • For any person under 18 years of age with an accumulation of 4 points within twelve months.

Points are accumulated on a person’s driving record as a result of certain convictions. The adjacent chart lists these convictions and the number of points associated with each. The date the violation occurred is used as the basis for determining the 24-month period (or 12-month period for persons under age 18). When a license is suspended due to an accumulation of points, the point total is restored to zero.

In the case of a person age 18 up to 21, the suspension of the license for a single 4-point offense is determined by the date the conviction occurred. A plea of nolo contendere is considered a conviction for purposes of imposing suspensions that apply to persons under age 21.

Points Reduction

Licensed Georgia residents may request that DDS reduce the number of points assessed against their Georgia driver’s license up to 7 points once every 5 years.

To qualify for a points reduction, you must successfully complete a certified 6-hour driver improvement (defensive driving) course and present the original certificate of completion to the DDS by mail or in person at one of our Customer Service Centers.

If you request a points reduction by mail, please mail the original driver improvement (defensive driving) certificate of completion to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, P.O. Box 80447, Conyers, Georgia 30013. A list of certified driver improvement (defensive driving) courses can be found at the following link: www.dds.ga.gov/DUI/SchoolMatrix.aspx.

Points Avoidance

A defendant may successfully complete a certified 6-hour driver improvement (defensive driving) course after the issuance of a citation for a moving violation and prior to the court appearance, or as ordered by the court. When the original certificate of completion is presented to the court, the court shall reduce the fine assessed by 20 percent and no points shall be assessed against the driver. This plea may be accepted by the court once every five years.

Safety Responsibility Law

The purpose of this law is to remove irresponsible drivers from Georgia highways and to protect insured motorists from uninsured motorists. In the event you should fail to satisfy a claim for damage resulting from a motor vehicle accident, and a claim is filed against you under the Safety Responsibility Law, you will receive an order suspending your license.

To avoid the suspension, you may:

  • Have your insurance carrier file Form SR-21 with the DDS if you were covered by liability insurance at the time of the accident; or
  • File either a general or a conditional release that has been signed by the claimant (injured party in the accident) with the DDS; or
  • Post security to cover the damages with the DDS, which may be a cashier’s check, certified check, money order, real property bond or surety bond, in addition to posting of financial responsibility, Form SR-22A.

Any security or bond posted with the Department will be held for one year and thereafter until proof is furnished to the Department that you have not been sued as a result of the accident.

You are entitled to a hearing, if desired, and if requested within ten (10) days of the issue date of the order of suspension.

Mandatory Revocations

Your driver’s license will be revoked in Georgia if any of the following occur:

  • You are declared a Habitual Violator based upon the third conviction of any combination of these offenses within 5 years:
  • Driving under the Influence (DUI);
  • Homicide by vehicle;
  • Feticide by vehicle;
  • Serious injury by vehicle;
  • Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident;
  • Racing;
  • Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer;
  • Fraudulent or fictitious use of, or application for, a license/ID card;
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended, canceled, or revoked registration;
  • Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used; or
  • Felony forgery related to an identification document.
  • Refusal to submit to a re-examination of driving skills or knowledge of driving rules after receiving notice giving reasonable grounds for such a request;
  • If there is sufficient evidence that you are incompetent or unfit to drive, due to incapacities by reason of disease, mental or physical disability, or by alcohol or drug addiction.

If you are declared a Habitual Violator, you may be eligible for a Probationary License after serving two years of the revocation period.

Limited Driving Permits

In some situations, a limited driving permit may be available for a fee of $25 during the suspension period. A limited driving permit would allow you to only:

  • Drive to your place of employment;
  • Receive scheduled medical attention or obtain prescribed drugs;
  • Attend classes at a college or school in which you are enrolled as a student;
  • Attend regularly scheduled sessions or meetings of support organizations for the treatment of alcohol or other drugs;
  • Attend a driver education program or alcohol/drug assessment and treatment program;
  • Attend court, report to a probation office or officer, or perform community service;
  • Transport unlicensed immediate family members to work, medical care and to obtain prescriptions, and to school.

An Ignition Interlock limited driving permit shall allow the permit holder to drive only for the following purposes:

  • drive to your place of employment;
  • attend classes at a college or school in which you are enrolled as a student;
  • attend regularly scheduled sessions or meetings of treatment support organizations for alcohol or drug addiction or abuse problems; and
  • monthly monitoring visits with the ignition interlock provider.

The Department may also specify the places you may travel to, specific routes of travel, times of travel, and indicate vehicles, or other restrictions deemed necessary. Limited driving permits are not valid for driving a commercial vehicle.

A limited driving permit will be revoked by the Department if you are convicted of violating any state law or local ordinance relating to the movement of vehicles or if you are convicted of violating any of the conditions or restrictions of your permit. In addition, a conviction will extend the underlying suspension of your driving privilege for an additional 6 months.

Limited driving permits are not available for convictions of the following offenses or in the following situations:

  • Implied Consent refusal;
  • No Insurance convictions;
  • Driving while license suspended convictions;
  • Drug convictions;
  • Failure to pay super speeder fee;
  • Failure to pay child support;
  • Failure to appear in court or respond to a citation;
  • Medical revocation;
  • Safety responsibility;
  • Parent requested revocation;
  • Alcohol-related offenses under 21 years of age;
  • DUI or drug convictions prior to the age of 16; and
  • Refusal to weigh (CMV).

A limited driving permit may be available in the following situations, depending on your age and the number of convictions on your driving record:

  • 1st DUI conviction in five years (age 21 or over);
  • 2nd DUI conviction in 5 years;
  • DUI ALS (age 21 or over);
  • Under 21 speeding violation but only if age 18 or older, speeding was 24-33 mph over the posted speed limit, and if approved by the trial court judge;
  • 1st or 2nd suspension for accumulation of 15 or more points within a 24 month period;
  • School attendance or conduct violations;
  • 3rd controlled substance violation after a 2 year suspension and age 21 or over;
  • Homicide by vehicle 2nd Degree (age 21 or over);
  • Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used (age 21 or over);
  • Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer (age 21 or over);
  • Fraudulent or fictitious use of, or application for, a license/ID card (age 21 or over);
  • Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident (age 21 or over);
  • Racing (age 21 or over);
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked, canceled, or suspended registration (age 21 or over); and
  • Felony forgery related to an identification document. (age 21 or over).

In all cases, the Department will make the final determination of eligibility for a limited driving permit. Please contact DDS at 678-413-8400 for further information.

Commercial Driving Disqualifications

When commercial driving privileges are disqualified, the licensee is prohibited from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). Commercial driving privileges can be disqualified even if you do not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you do not have a CDL, but your commercial driving privileges are disqualified, you will not be eligible to obtain a CDL during the period of the disqualification.

The commercial driving privileges can be withdrawn for:

  • Conviction of a Major traffic violation;
  • Conviction of two or more Serious traffic violations;
  • Use of a CMV in the commission of any felony involving a controlled substance or marijuana (other than mere felony possession);
  • Violation of an out-of-service order; or
  • Conviction of a railroad grade crossing offense in a CMV.

Major Traffic Violations

The commercial driving privileges of any person convicted of one of the following “major traffic violations” in this state, or any other state, in a commercial or, unless otherwise specified, a noncommercial vehicle will be disqualified for one year:

  • Driving a CMV if your BAC is .04 gm. or higher;
  • DUI;
  • Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident;
  • Failure to report striking an unattended vehicle;
  • Failure to report striking a fixed object;
  • Failure to report an accident;
  • Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
  • Driving a CMV while the CDL is revoked, suspended, canceled, or disqualified;
  • Homicide by vehicle;
  • Racing;
  • Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer;
  • Fraudulent or fictitious use of, or application for, a license/ID card;
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked, canceled, or suspended registration;
  • Commercial vehicle cargo theft; or
  • Refusal to submit to state administered chemical testing when requested by a law enforcement officer.

If convicted of any of these offenses while you are operating a CMV that is placarded for hazardous materials, you will be disqualified from driving a CMV for at least three years for a first offense.

A second conviction from a separate incident of any of these major traffic violations will result in a lifetime disqualification of commercial driving privileges.

Serious Traffic Violations

Your commercial driving privileges will be disqualified for a period of 60 days upon a second conviction in three years for a serious traffic violation (provided that the two convictions arose from separate incidents). Your commercial driving privileges will be disqualified for a period of 120 days upon a third or subsequent conviction in three years for a serious traffic violation (provided that the various convictions arose from separate incidents).

The following violations are defined as “serious traffic violations” when committed in this state, or any other state, when operating either a CMV or, unless otherwise specified, a noncommercial motor vehicle:

  • Speeding 15 or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit;
  • Reckless driving;
  • Following another vehicle too closely;
  • Improper or erratic lane change, including failure to signal a lane change;
  • A violation of state law or a local ordinance relating to motor vehicle traffic control arising in connection with a fatal crash, excluding parking, weight, length, height, and vehicle defect violations, and excluding homicide by vehicle;
  • A railroad grade crossing violation in a noncommercial motor vehicle;
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver´s license;
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver´s license in your immediate possession, but not if it is because your commercial driving privileges have been suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified;
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver´s license of the proper class and endorsements for the specific vehicle you are operating or for the passengers or type of cargo you are transporting;
  • Use of a wireless device for text based communications while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

Other Violations

A felony conviction involving the manufacturing, distribution, trafficking or possession of a controlled substance or marijuana using a CMV (other than mere felony possession) will result in a lifetime disqualification of commercial driving privileges.

Violation of an out-of-service order will result in a disqualification of:

  • not less than 180 days and not more than one year for a 1st offense;
  • not less than 2 years and not more than 5 years for a 2nd offense; and
  • not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years for a 3rd or subsequent incidents.

An additional disqualification period will apply when an out-of-service order is violated while transporting hazardous materials or transporting more than 15 passengers.

Conviction of any railroad grade crossing offense while operating a CMV will also result in a disqualification of 60 days for a 1st offense up to 1 year for a third or subsequent violation within a 3 year period.

Violation Resulting in Conviction

Points

Reckless Driving

4

Unlawful Passing School Bus

6

Improper Passing on Hill or Curve

4

Speeding – 15-18 mph over the posted speed limit

2

Speeding – 19-23 mph over the posted speed limit

3

Speeding – 24-33 mph over the posted speed limit

4

Speeding – 34 mph or more over the posted speed limit

6

Disobedience of Any Traffic-Control Device or Traffic Officer

3

Possessing an Open Container of an Alcoholic Beverage While Driving

2

Failure to Adequately Secure a Load

2

All Other Moving Violations

3

Child Restraint – 1st Offense

1

Child Restraint – 2nd and Subsequent Offense

2

Aggressive Driving

6

HOV Lane Violation – 4th and Subsequent Offense

1

Violation of usage of wireless telecommunications device requirements

1

Operating a vehicle while text messaging

1

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Purple text indicates an important note.

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