Anne Bishop, 539 Green Street NW Gainesville, GA 30501 email@gainesvillegalawyer.com (770) 783-5296

A. Bishop Law, LLC

Traffic Law Attorney Explains Common Georgia Driver’s License Mistakes

John Breakfield is an experienced Hall County Traffic Ticket Attorney in Northeast Georgia and is dedicated to helping you defend your driving record against driving on a suspended license charge. Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys 770-783-5296. http://www.gainesvillegalawyer.com

Many license issues are obvious. If you are convicted of DUI, your license will be suspended. However, in our experience, some common and basic license errors can lead to much bigger license problems.

View More Criminal Defense Articles

 

Criminal Defense & Traffic Law Attorney in Gainesville, Georgia, Explains Common Driver's License Mistakes in Hall County, Georgia. Call Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys: 770-783-5296 www.GainesvilleGALawyer.com

Hall County, Georgia, Attorney Anne Bishop Explains: Common Driver’s License Mistakes.

A simple thing like not renewing your license before it expires can be overlooked. (We know you are going to double-check now!)  Buying a new home just down the street and not changing your address, because you’ll do it when you renew your license.  Getting a small traffic ticket and forgetting to pay the fine or appear in court.  Many times, the ticket is just a $15 Seat-belt ticket.


Not Renewing Your License


Under current Georgia Law, if your license is expired 31 DAYS OR MORE, it could be treated harshly as though it is a suspended license under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-121.  (O.C.G.A. § 40-5-121 is the Suspended License penalty catch-all.  This means that if not renewed within the 30 Day Safe Harbor provision, after initial expiration, a forgetful driver could fall into the same penalties as a person driving after a DUI.


40-5-20 Requirement of valid driver’s license; surrender of other jurisdictions’ licenses; exceptions


(a) No person, except those expressly exempted in this chapter or in Chapter 6 of this title, shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this state unless such person has a valid driver’s license under this chapter for the type or class of vehicle being driven. Any person who is a resident of this state for 30 days shall obtain a Georgia driver’s license before operating a motor vehicle in this state. Any court having jurisdiction over traffic offenses in this state shall report to the department the name and other identifying information of any individual convicted of driving without a license. This Code section shall not apply to a person driving with a suspended license or license that has been revoked. Any person convicted of violating this Code section shall be punished as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-121; provided, however, that if:


(1) Such person is driving with a driver’s license issued by this state that has been expired for less than 31 days at the time of the offense and he or she produces in court a driver’s license that would have been valid at the time of the offense, he or she shall not be guilty of such offense; and


(2) Such person is driving without a valid driver’s license or receipt issued by the department reflecting issuance, renewal, replacement, or reinstatement in his or her possession but he or she has a valid driver’s license, Code Section 40-5-29 shall apply to such offense.


40-5-29  Duty to have license in immediate possession at all times when operating motor vehicle; display upon demand; violations (Georgia Code (2014 Edition))


(a) Every licensee shall have his or her driver’s license in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle. Any person who has a receipt issued by the department reflecting issuance, renewal, replacement, or reinstatement of his or her driver’s license in his or her immediate possession shall be considered to have such license in his or her immediate possession if such is confirmed to be valid by the department or through the Georgia Crime Information Center. The department may establish by rule and regulation the term of such receipt. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no receipt issued by the department shall be accepted as proof of such person’s identity for any other purpose, including but not limited to proof of voter identification or proof of age for purposes of purchasing alcoholic beverages.


(b) Every licensee shall display his or her license upon the demand of a law enforcement officer. A refusal to comply with such demand not only shall constitute a violation of this subsection but shall also give rise to a presumption of a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section and of Code Section 40-5-20.


(c) A person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be fined no more than $10.00 if he or she produces in court a license theretofore issued to him or her and valid at the time of his or her arrest.


Here is the Catch-all Penalty Suspended License Provision:


40-5-121 Driving without license; extension of suspension; jurisdiction of municipal

Except when a license has been revoked under Code Section 40-5-58 as a habitual violator, any person who drives a motor vehicle on any public highway of this state without being licensed as required by subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-20 or at a time when his or her privilege to so drive is suspended, disqualified, or revoked shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for a first conviction thereof and, upon a first conviction thereof or plea of nolo contendere within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted, shall be fingerprinted and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two days nor more than 12 months, and there may be imposed in addition thereto a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00. Such fingerprints, taken upon conviction, shall be forwarded to the Georgia Crime Information Center where an identification number shall be assigned to the individual for the purpose of tracking any future violations by the same offender. For the second and third conviction within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted, such person shall be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten days nor more than 12 months, and there may be imposed in addition thereto a fine of not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $2,500.00. For the fourth or subsequent conviction within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted, such person shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years, and there may be imposed in addition thereto a fine of not less than $2,500.00 nor more than $5,000.00.(b) (1) The department, upon receiving a record of the conviction of any person under this Code section upon a charge of driving a vehicle while the license of such person was suspended, disqualified, or revoked, including suspensions under subsection (f) of Code Section 40-5-75, shall extend the period of suspension or disqualification by six months. Upon the expiration of six months from the date on which the suspension or disqualification is extended and payment of the applicable reinstatement fee, the department shall reinstate the license. The reinstatement fee for a first such conviction within a five-year period shall be $210.00 or $200.00 if paid by mail. The reinstatement fee for a second such conviction within a five-year period shall be $310.00 or $300.00 if paid by mail. The reinstatement fee for a third or subsequent such conviction within a five-year period shall be $410.00 or $400.00 if paid by mail.


(2) The court shall be required to confiscate the license, if applicable, and attach it to the uniform citation and forward it to the department within ten days of conviction. The period of suspension or disqualification provided for in this Code section shall begin on the date the person is convicted of violating this Code section.


(c) For purposes of pleading nolo contendere, only one nolo contendere plea will be accepted to a charge of driving without being licensed or with a suspended or disqualified license within a five-year period as measured from date of arrest to date of arrest. All other nolo contendere pleas in this period will be considered convictions. For the purpose of imposing a sentence under this subsection, a plea of nolo contendere shall constitute a conviction. There shall be no limited driving permit available for a suspension or disqualification under this Code section.


(d) Notwithstanding the limits set forth in Code Section 40-5-124 and in any municipal charter, any municipal court of any municipality shall be authorized to impose the punishment for a misdemeanor or misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature as applicable and provided for in this Code section upon a conviction of a nonfelony charge of violating this Code section or upon conviction of violating any ordinance adopting the provisions of this Code section.


Change of Address (within Georgia)


Many drivers think that when they move within Georgia, they will just change their address when they renew their license.  This is not the case.  Generally, speaking the Georgia Department of Driver Services needs a current address to notify you of any issues with your license, such as unpaid tickets, suspensions, etc. and requires a valid address be on file.  Under Georgia Law, a person has 60 days to update their license due to an address change within the State of Georgia.


O.C.G.A. § 40-5-33 Changes in Name or Address


Whenever any person, after applying for or receiving a driver’s license, shall move from the address named in such application or in the license issued to him or her or when the name of a licensee is changed by marriage or otherwise, such person shall apply to the department for a license showing the correct name or address within 60 days. Failure to change the name or address shall not deem the license invalid. The commissioner may determine the locations at which applications shall be accepted for applications due to change of name or address. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, it is specifically provided that the commissioner may designate county tag agents, if they so agree, as agents of the department for this purpose.


Change of Address (out of State INTO Georgia)


This one is not that tricky, but does tend to confuse some people.  The driver from out-of-state has a valid license from another state, and due to the time and trouble of moving to a new state, they put off getting a new license.  Again, they think they will just change their address when they renew their license.  Again, this is not the case.  Again, the Georgia Department of Driver Services needs a current address to notify a driver of any issues with their license.  Under Georgia Law, a person has 30 days to update their license from another state into the State of Georgia.


O.C.G.A. § 40-5-20 Requirement of valid driver’s license; surrender of other jurisdictions’ licenses; exceptions


(a) No person, except those expressly exempted in this chapter or in Chapter 6 of this title, shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this state unless such person has a valid driver’s license under this chapter for the type or class of vehicle being driven. Any person who is a resident of this state for 30 days shall obtain a Georgia driver’s license before operating a motor vehicle in this state. Any court having jurisdiction over traffic offenses in this state shall report to the department the name and other identifying information of any individual convicted of driving without a license. This Code section shall not apply to a person driving with a suspended license or license that has been revoked. Any person convicted of violating this Code section shall be punished as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-121; provided, however, that if:


Attend Court (Even for a Seatbelt Ticket)


Attending Court as a witness or for a serious ticket is not easily forgotten by most people; however, smaller tickets like Seatbelt tickets or Stop Sign violations might be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of modern day life.  Even smaller tickets can result in a license suspension, if they are not promptly addressed by the court date on the bottom of the ticket.  Under Georgia law, a failure to appear for any Traffic Violation can result in a suspended license.


O.C.G.A. § 40-5-56 Suspension of license for failure to appear after citation for traffic violation (Georgia Code (2014 Edition))


(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter or any other law to the contrary, the department shall suspend the driver’s license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state of any person who has failed to respond to a citation to appear before a court of competent jurisdiction in this state or in any other state for a traffic violation other than a parking violation. The department shall include language in the uniform traffic citation stating that failure to appear and respond to such citation shall result in the suspension of the violator’s driver’s license or nonresident driving privilege. The language reflected on a uniform traffic citation issued in this state shall be sufficient notice of said suspension to support a conviction for a violation of Code Section 40-5-121 if such person drives subsequent to the imposition of such a suspension following his or her failure to appear. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the department shall send notice of any suspension imposed pursuant to this Code section. Such notice shall be sent via certified mail to the address reflected on its records as the person’s mailing address. Proof of receipt of said notice shall be admissible to support a conviction for a violation of Code Section 40-5-121 if such person drives subsequent to the imposition of such a suspension following his or her failure to appear.


(b) The suspension provided for in this Code section shall be for an indefinite period until such person shall respond and pay any fines and penalties imposed. Such person’s license shall be reinstated if the person submits proof of payment of the fine from the court of jurisdiction and pays a restoration fee of $100.00 or $90.00 when such reinstatement is processed by mail to the department. Such suspension shall be in addition to any other suspension or revocation provided for in this chapter.


At A. Bishop Law, our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney welcomes questions on Criminal Defense laws, Traffic Laws and Georgia DUI laws. Please Call or Email us with any questions.

About the attorney:  Anne Bishop is a Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various DUI / DWIMarijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters.  The law office of A. Bishop Law can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, OakwoodFlowery Branch), Jackson County  (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.

This article and/or video should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes. Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.

 

Anne Bishop
A. Bishop Law, LLC
Attorney at Law
539 Green Street NW
Gainesville,Georgia
30501
US
Phone: (770) 783-5296