As a new driver in Georgia, there are different classifications of licenses that you can obtain. For non-commercial motor vehicle drivers, the first step in the process of becoming a licensed Georgia driver would be to qualify for a Learner's Permit and then eventually graduate to a Class C license.
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The steps involved to graduate from a learner’s permit to a full privileged license with no restrictions depends on a person’s age, ability and driving record.
Learner’s Permit (Class CP)
If you are at least 15 years old, then you can take the test to get your Learner’s Permit (Class CP). The test quizzes your knowledge of road rules and road signs. If you successfully pass the learner’s permit test, then you can drive a car, but only if there is someone with you who is at least 21 years old and who has a valid Class C license (a driver’s license). Also, that person must be seated next to you in the car (in the passenger’s seat), so that if necessary, they would be able to control the car.
Intermediate License (Class D)
If you are either 16 or 17 years old and have had your Learner’s Permit for 12 months and one day and you have not committed any major traffic violations, then you may take a road skills test to get a Class D license. A Class D license gives you more independence than a Learner’s Permit, but it still has certain limitations:
– Class D drivers are not permitted to drive between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. There are no exceptions”not even for work/employment purposes.
-In the first 6-month period after the issuance of a Class D license, the driver is not permitted to drive or transport any passengers who are not a member of the driver’s immediate family.
-In the second 6-month period after the issuance of the Class D license, the driver is not permitted to drive when more than one passenger (who is not an immediate family member) is less than 21 years old.
-After 12 months, the driver is not permitted to drive when more than three other passengers in the vehicle (who are not immediate family members) are less than 21 years old.
Full License (Class C)
If you are 18 years old or older and have not had any major traffic convictions in the last 12 months, then you can get a Class C license (a driver’s license). Unlike the Class D license, the Class C license does not have any restrictions. However, even if you are 18, if you still have the Class D license, then you will still be subject to the restricted conditions of the Class D license until you get your full driver’s license. No additional testing or documentation is required for U.S. citizens to obtain a Class C license. All that is required is payment of a fee and the surrendering of the Class D license.
OBTAINING YOUR NEW LICENSE:
Applicants Upgrading from a Class D to a Class C License
When a Class D license holder turns 18, they may apply for a Class C license. The applicant must have had a Class D license for at least one year and one day and must not have had any major traffic violations in the 12 months prior to his/her application. The applicant is required to surrender his/her Class D license. If the applicant is unable to produce his/her license, the applicant must give an affirmation that he/she surrenders the Class D license. Along with the application, the applicant must pay a fee for the Class C license. A five-year license costs $20 and an 8-year license costs $32.
Applicants Upgrading from a Class CP to a Class C License
When a Class CP permit holder turns 18, they may apply for a Class C license. The applicant is required to surrender his/her Class CP Learner’s Permit. If the applicant is unable to produce his/her permit, the applicant must give an affirmation that he/she surrenders the Class CP permit. The applicant is also required to take a road test. In addition to the road test, the applicant must verify that he/she has completed 40 hours of supervised road driving (which includes six hours of night driving) and pay a fee for the Class C license. A five-year license costs $20 and an 8-year license costs $32.
Applicants Who Are Not Currently Licensed and Who Seek a Class C License
If you are at least 18 and want to apply for a Georgia driver’s license for the first time, you can immediately apply for a Class C license. You must provide all the required documentation and successfully pass the knowledge tests and road test. In addition, you must sign an affidavit affirming that you completed 40 hours of supervised road driving (which includes six hours of night driving).
However, if you prefer to take one step at a time and want to first get a learner’s permit before the driver’s license, you can apply for a Class CP driver’s permit, which will allow you to obtain driving experience with supervision from a licensed driver.
Transferring Out-of-State Applicants Who Seek a Class C License
If you are under 18 years old and have a valid out-of-state license or permit, you may be able to get a comparable license or permit in Georgia. You will need to contact the local Department of Driver Services (DDS) office for more information on the specific requirements.
If you are 18 years old or older and have a valid out-of-state license or permit, you will be able to obtain a Class C license by providing the required documentation and successfully passing the various tests. This includes your social security information, proof of identity, proof of citizenship or lawful residency, and two documents to prove Georgia residency. (All documents must be originals or certified copies. Faxed copies will not be accepted.) You will also have to surrender your valid out-of-state license. If you are unable to produce your license, you must provide a certified Driving History Report from the state that issued your license. (The report must be dated within 30 days and must show your license status as valid.)
If you are under 18 years old and do not have a valid out-of-state license or permit, you will have to go through the normal steps for getting a Georgia driver’s license, which would require you to first obtain your learner’s permit.
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About the attorney: Anne Bishop is a Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various DUI / DWI, Marijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters. The law office of A. Bishop Law can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery 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.