Habitual Violator Revocation and Reinstatement
Have you heard of Habitual Violator status and the consequences it carries for your driver's license in Georgia? If you have three or more qualifying offenses within a five-year period, you may be declared a Habitual Violator (HV) and have your driving privileges revoked for a minimum of five years. This post will cover important information about what HV status is, why it matters, and how to avoid it.
Habitual Violator in Georgia
In Georgia, the Habitual Violator (HV) driver's license revocation is a stringent measure implemented to ensure road safety and discourage dangerous driving behavior. An individual can attain HV status by receiving three or more convictions or nolo contendere pleas for offenses listed on the HV contributor list within a 5-year period. The consequences of being labeled an HV are severe, resulting in a 5-year license revocation. However, after serving at least 2 years of hard revocation, an individual may be eligible for a probationary license, provided they meet specific requirements and navigate through several hoops, which we will discuss later in this post. Georgia enforces this law to protect its citizens from reckless drivers and maintain a safe driving environment for everyone on the road.
Habitual Violator Contributors
HV (Habitual Violator) contributors are a list of offenses that can lead to the revocation of a Georgia driver's license if three or more convictions or nolo contendere pleas are received within five years. The following is a list and brief summary of each type of charge:
- Homicide by vehicle (1st Degree) - OCGA 40-6-393(a) or (b): Causing the death of another person due to reckless driving or DUI.
- Homicide by vehicle (2nd Degree) - OCGA 40-6-393(c): Causing the death of another person due to traffic violation other than reckless driving or DUI.
- Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used: Utilizing a vehicle during the commission of a felony crime.
- Hit & run, leaving the scene of an accident - OCGA 40-6-270: Fleeing the scene of an accident without providing necessary information or assistance.
- Racing on highways or streets - OCGA 40-6-186: Participating in illegal street racing or drag racing on public roads.
- Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer - OCGA 40-6-395: Attempting to evade law enforcement while operating a motor vehicle.
- Unlawful or fraudulent use of or application for a license or ID card - OCGA 40-5-120, 40-5-125 (only if occurred prior to July 1, 2015): Unlawfully obtaining, using, or applying for a driver's license or identification card.
- Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked, canceled, or suspended registration - OCGA 40-6-15: Driving a vehicle with suspended, revoked, or canceled registration.
- Any felony forgery conviction related to an identification document (only if occurred prior to July 1, 2015): Forgery of identification documents for unlawful purposes.
- DUI and child endangerment DUI - OCGA 40-6-391 and OCGA 40-6-391(1): Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or endangering a child while driving under the influence.
- Feticide by vehicle (1st Degree) - OCGA 40-6-393.1(a)(1): Causing the death of an unborn child due to reckless driving or DUI.
- Serious injury by vehicle - OCGA 40-6-394: Causing severe bodily harm to another person due to reckless driving or DUI.
Pleas entered under the First Offender Act for any of these offenses will still count towards HV status. HV revocations do not age off of your driving record and will remain in effect until the licensee has paid a reinstatement fee and met all other requirements.
Probationary License for Habitual Violators
After serving two years of an HV revocation in Georgia, a driver may apply for a three-year probationary license if they meet specific conditions. To be eligible, the individual:
- Must not have been convicted or pleaded nolo contendere to any violation of Chapter 5 or Chapter 6 of Title 40 (OCGA) regarding driver's licenses and uniform rules of the road, or any local ordinance relating to vehicle movement for a period of two years immediately preceding the application for a probationary driver's license.
- Must not have been convicted or pleaded nolo contendere to any violation of Chapter 5 or Chapter 6 of Title 40 (OCGA) resulting in the death or injury of any individual.
- Must successfully complete a defensive driving course or a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program approved and certified by the DDS before obtaining the probationary driver's license.
- Must submit a sworn affidavit stating that they do not excessively use alcoholic beverages and do not illegally use controlled substances or marijuana. Falsely swearing is a misdemeanor charge, and if convicted, the probationary license will be revoked, and the individual cannot regain their license or obtain another probationary license for either the rest of the original HV revocation period or two years from the false swearing conviction.
- Must submit proof of financial responsibility as provided in Chapter 9 of Title 40 (OCGA) using form SR22/22A.
- Must demonstrate that refusal to issue a probationary driver's license would cause extreme hardship.
- If applicable, must maintain an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any vehicle they operate for the required period of time (6, 8, or 12 months) based upon the date of arrest immediately following the issuance of an HV probationary license. This requirement applies only if the HV declaration is based upon two or more convictions under OCGA 40-6-391(a)(1), (a)(3), and/or (a)(5).
To apply for a probationary driver's license, individuals must use the forms provided by the DDS and submit a notarized application under oath, showing proof of all these requirements. After meeting these conditions and paying a $210 fee ($200 if online or by mail), the person can obtain their probationary license. The probationary license becomes invalid upon the expiration of the suspension or revocation period, at which point the individual must apply to have their driver's license officially reinstated to continue driving.
Conditions of a Probationary License for Habitual Violators
In Georgia, individuals with HV status who obtain a probationary license are subject to specific conditions set by the Department of Driver Services (DDS). The DDS has the authority to endorse a probationary license with any conditions they deem necessary to ensure that the licensee only uses it to avoid extreme hardship. Some examples of restrictions that may be imposed on a probationary license include:
- Specific places between which the licensee may operate a motor vehicle.
- Routes to be followed by the licensee.
- Times of travel.
- Specific vehicles which the licensee may operate.
- Other restrictions as deemed necessary by the DDS.
Additionally, if the license holder has been convicted of two or more DUIs based on OCGA 40-6-391(a)(1), (a)(3), and/or (a)(5), they will be required to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for a specified period of time. Furthermore, these individuals must complete a clinical evaluation and, if indicated, complete a substance abuse treatment program approved by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).
If a probationary licensee violates any of the restrictions imposed on their license, they may be charged with a misdemeanor. It is crucial for individuals with HV status to adhere to these restrictions to ensure public safety and avoid further legal consequences.
Reinstating Your License After Habitual Violator Revocation in Georgia
If your driver's license has been revoked in Georgia due to Habitual Violator (HV) status, it is crucial to understand that you will not automatically regain your driving privileges once the five-year period has elapsed. Instead, you must take specific steps to reinstate your license, depending on the charges that led to your HV status.
Assess the Underlying Charges
The first step in reinstating your license is to evaluate the offenses that resulted in your HV status. For example, if you have had three or more convictions for any type of DUI charge within five years, you will need to complete specific requirements before being eligible for license reinstatement.
Attend a DDS-Approved Program
Individuals with multiple DUI convictions must attend a Department of Driver Services (DDS)-approved DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program. This program must be completed before you can begin the process of reinstating your license.
Pay Reinstatement Fees
To reinstate your license, you will need to pay the necessary reinstatement fees. These fees usually begin at $210 but may vary depending on your situation. Be prepared to cover this cost as part of the reinstatement process.
Retake the Driver's License Exam (if required)
In some cases, you may be required to retake the driver's license exam to demonstrate your knowledge of driving rules and regulations. This requirement will depend on your specific circumstances and the reasons for your HV status.
Contact DDS Before the Five-Year Period Ends
It is essential to be proactive when it comes to reinstating your license after an HV revocation. Make sure to contact the DDS before the five-year period expires to obtain detailed information about the requirements and steps you need to follow for reinstatement. This proactive approach will ensure that you are fully prepared and aware of what needs to be done to regain your driving privileges.
To Sum It Up
In conclusion, reinstating your license after an HV revocation in Georgia requires a thorough understanding of the underlying charges and completing any necessary steps, such as attending a DDS-approved program, paying reinstatement fees, and possibly retaking the driver's license exam. By being proactive and contacting the DDS before the five-year period ends, you can ensure a smoother process and regain your driving privileges as soon as possible.
How We Can Help
At Your Law Firm, we understand the impact that Habitual Violator (HV) status can have on your life. That's why we offer assistance to help you avoid HV status on the front end. By contacting our office before a third conviction of an HV contributor in 5 years is assessed on your record, we can work with you to develop a strategy that can help you avoid HV status and the associated penalties. And if you are already facing HV status, we can assist you in obtaining a probationary HV license by walking you through the process and ensuring that you meet all the necessary requirements to turn into DDS. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the best chance for full reinstatement once the five years revocation period has run. So if you need help with HV status, contact Your Law Firm today for assistance.