When you commit a DUI in Georgia, it’s three strikes and you’re out—out of a license and many other privileges, that is. The state has always been tough on traffic violations and DUI offenders in particular. Three DUI offenses typically brands a driver with Habitual Violator (HV) status, which comes with a host of financial and other consequences. What exactly is Habitual Violator status, and what does it mean for a driver in Georgia?
Who Gets Habitual Violator Status?
If you accumulate three DUI offenses within the span of five years, the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will automatically give you HV status. The status essentially identifies you as someone who is more capable of committing certain offenses. Other types of convictions can lead to HV status, including vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, street racing, and others. When it comes to DUI, Habitual Violators will face more serious consequences compared to a first- or second-time offender.
Consequences for a Habitual Violator
To fully understand the severity of Habitual Violator status, let’s compare the penalties for first- and second-time offenses. For a first or second DUI, the fine maxes out at $1,000; the maximum license suspension time ends at 1 year for first-timers and 3 years for second-timers; and imprisonment usually does not last longer than 1 year.
If you commit a third DUI and become a Habitual Violator, the DMV will revoke your driver’s license for 5 years and confiscate your license plate. You will also:
- Pay a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.
- Pay a $410 fee to reinstate your license (compared to $210 for others).
- Spend at least 15 days in jail with no maximum time, and at least 30 days of mandatory community service.
- Attend and pay the costs of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program.
- Get clinical evaluation and treatment.
- Have the possibility of an interlock ignition device and limited driving permit after 2 years.
- Have your name, address, and photo published in your local newspaper at your expense.
Reinstating Your License
If you become a Habitual Violator, you will face the consequence of a mandatory driver’s license revocation. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for a probationary license after 2 years. You may be able to reinstate your license after 5 years have passed since the DMV last calculated your reinstatement eligibility. You must also complete a driver improvement clinic, an alcohol or drug use risk reduction program, and any tests you might need to reapply and reinstate your license type. You’ll then surrender any temporary permits or probationary licenses and pay a fee of up to $410.
Getting a Probationary License
A limited driving permit can let you travel to and from work, school, scheduled doctor appointments, and drug or alcohol support programs. Habitual Violators can expect to pay $210 for a probationary license, and they must wait 2 years after their initial license revocation. If you violate the conditions of this permit, the judge will revoke it and add time to your license suspension period.
Compared to earlier offenses, Habitual Violator status is more expensive, leaves you without driving privileges for a longer span of time, and interferes with your life in more ways. You’ll even have your name and photo published in the paper! If you’ve been charged with a third DUI in Georgia, it’s worth considering whether you can fight the charges. Contact the experienced lawyers at Savannah DUI to assess your case. We will work hard to help you reach a favorable outcome.