Driving Without a Valid (or on a Suspended) License in Georgia

Read about the penalties for driving without a valid license in Georgia.

Like in other states, it is unlawful to drive without a license in Georgia. This article explains what constitutes driving without a license, the penalties for a violation, and some exceptions to the general rule.

Driving Without a License

Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Georgia highway must possess and be able to display a valid driver’s license. Failure to do so can result in a misdemeanor conviction.

License not in possession. Persons who are licensed but are unable to display said license when asked do so by an officer can be convicted of a misdemeanor, punishable by one year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. However, if the driver is able to produce in court a driver’s license that was valid at the time of the officer’s request, the person just has to pay a maximum $10 fine.

Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a misdemeanor. And a driver with an out-of-state license can also be convicted of a misdemeanor if he or she has resided in Georgia for more than 30 days but failed to obtain a Georgia driver’s license. In either circumstance, the maximum penalties are a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Georgia license, subject to Georgia age restrictions. Farmers driving tractors and military personnel in military vehicles are also exempt from licensing requirements.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked

A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended, restricted, or revoked license will be subject to jail time, fines, and an extended driver’s license suspension. The specific penalties depend on the number of violations the person has within a five-year period.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

4th offense-felony

Jail

2 days to 12 months

10 days to 12 months

10 days to 12 months

1 to 5 years prison

Fine

$500 to $1,000

$1,000 to $2,000

$1,000 to $2,000

$2,500 to $5,000

License Suspension

6 months

6 months

6 months

6 months to life

Habitual violator. After three violations within a five-year period, the convicted person will be considered a “habitual violator” and will be subject to increased penalties and suspension periods.

License Reinstatement

It should be noted that a license is not automatically reinstated once a suspension or restriction period has passed. Generally, a reinstatement fee must be paid before a driver’s license can become valid again, and these fees increase with each subsequent conviction.

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