Driving Without a License
In the state of Georgia, operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license is more than just another type of traffic ticket or citation. This type of violation is instead a serious offense that has the potential to result in serious penalties. Individuals who are charged with such an offense frequently find it essential to retain the services of a skilled attorney who can make sure that an individual’s case resolves in the best possible manner. These individuals often benefit substantially by understanding some of the key details about driving without a license.
Statistics about Accidents Involving Drivers that Are Not Properly Licensed
Statistics indicate that a startling number of motor vehicle drivers and passengers are severely injured each year in accidents involving drivers that are not properly licensed. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a report, “Unlicensed to Kill” that reports one out of every seven motor vehicle collisions in the United States involves a motor vehicle operator without a valid driver’s license. This report further projects that unlicensed motor vehicle drivers cause 8,400 traffic fatalities each year. Additionally, this study reports that twenty-eight percent of motor vehicle drivers involved in a fatal collision while unlicensed had a driving record that included at least three suspensions or revocations in the course of the previous three years.
The Requirements to Obtain a Georgia Driver’s License
In order to obtain a driver’s license in the state of Georgia, an individual must pass a vision exam, take a knowledge test, and pay a $10 permit fee. For individuals who are not yet eighteen years of age, the individual must hold a learner’s permit for one year and one day before the individual becomes eligible to take a road skills exam.Adult drivers, however, can take a road skills exam without satisfying the one-year and one-day requirement.
Applicable Georgia Law
A charge of driving without a license refers to three different scenarios, which include the following:
- A Driver’s License Was Cancelled, Revoked or Suspended. This type of offense will result in a minimum fine of five hundred dollars as well as additional penalties.
- Never Applied for a Driver’s License. Law in the state of Georgia prohibits most individuals from driving a motor vehicle upon a highway unless that individual has a valid driver’s license.
- Not Having a Driver’s License in One’s Possession. In these situations, motor vehicle operators are licensed to drive but at the time of receiving the citation, the driver lacked a physical driver’s license. These charges are sometimes dismissed once an individual can prove that they possessed a valid license at the time of the arrest. Other times, individuals might be subject to fines.
The state of Georgia contains law that exempts several groups of individuals from the requirement that an individual must have a valid driver’s license in order to operate a motor vehicle. These particular groups include the following:
- Farm Equipment.An individual who drives a farm equipment or farm tractor on a highway while performing farm business is not required to carry a valid driver’s license.
- Government Agents. An employee of the United States government while operating a motor vehicle owned by the United States Government in the course of carrying out that individual’s job is sometimes not required to possess a current driver’s license.
- Nonresidents. A nonresident who has a valid driver’s license in that non-resident’s home state or country is not required to possess a current driver’s license provided that individual would otherwise satisfy all requirement of a Georgia driver’s license.
The Consequences of Driving Without a License
There are two types of charges of which motorists in the state of Georgia should be aware: driving without a license and driving on a suspended license.
- Driving without a License. Individuals in the state of Georgia who are charged with driving without a license are faced with misdemeanor offenses that can result in up to twelve months in jail or a one thousand dollar fine. A conviction of driving without a license will likely cause an individual’s insurance rates to increase substantially as well as create difficulties for the individual in trying to obtain a license in the future.
- Driving on a Suspended License. The minimum sentence for driving on a suspended license is two days in jail and a fine of at least five hundred dollars. Second and third offenses of driving on a suspended license result in penalties of at least ten days in jail, a fine of one thousand to two thousand five hundred dollars, a six-month license suspension, and a license reinstatement that is often several hundred dollars. There are a variety of reasons why an individual’s driver’s license can be suspended including homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, causing a hit and run accident, racing, refusal of a breath test, failure to appear, fleeing arrest, drug offenses, individuals who have previously caused a motor vehicle accident and lack insurance, individuals who have used a vehicle in the commission of a felony, and individuals who have failed to pay child support.
Defending Against a Charge of Driving Without a License
A driving without a license in the state can be particularly difficult to defend. Once the district attorney or prosecutor proves that an individual drove without a valid license, an individual then bears the burden of proving that the individual did possess a valid driver’s license at the time of the citation. Without evidence that the driver held a valid license, the driver will likely lose the case. Two other types of potential defenses including arguing that an individual was not driving a motor vehicle. Another potential defense is arguing that administrative errors occurred and that as a result the individual’s license was wrongly suspended.
Obtain the Services of a Skilled Driving Ticket Attorney
If you have been charged with driving without a license, it is almost always a wise idea to quickly retain the services of a skilled attorney. The legal counsel at Yeargan Barber & Kert can help individuals charged with such offenses in several ways including arguing before a court of law for the best situation possible, identifying aspects that might create a strong defense, and pursuing the possibility of reduced sentencing. Take control of your situation today by contacting our law firm.