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.

Penalties for Driving Without a License in Georgia

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.

No License on Person in Georgia

Persons who are licensed but are unable to display said license when asked to 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 in Georgia

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.

Driving With an Expired License in Georgia

The penalties for driving on an expired license are the same as those for unlicensed driving: up to a year in jail and a maximum $1,000 in fines.

However, according to the statute, if the person's license has been expired for less than 31 days at the time of the offense, and "he or she produces in court a driver's license that would have been valid at the time of the offense, he or she shall not be guilty of such offense."

Driving While Suspended or Revoked in Georgia

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 $2,500

$1,000 to $2,500

$2,500 to $5,000

License Suspension

6 months

6 months

6 months

6 months to life

Habitual violators. 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.

Exceptions Where You Can Drive in Georgia Without a State License

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.

License Reinstatement in Georgia

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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