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What happens if you’re labeled a DUI habitual violator?

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2023 | Firm News |

A driving under the influence (DUI) charge is meant to teach drivers that operating a vehicle while inebriated endangers themselves, as well as other motorists and pedestrians. This is why on conviction, a DUI leads to steep fines, license suspensions and even jail time.

But what happens to those who get multiple DUI convictions within a few years?

Per Georgia law, drivers arrested and convicted within the U.S. under state or federal law three or more times within five years are identified as “habitual violators” (HVs). For their multiple violations, HVs have their driving privileges restricted.

How are HVs charged?

Other convictions can count toward an HV charge besides multiple DUI convictions. As long as a driver is convicted of the following three or more times within five years in any combination, an officer can cite them as an HV:

  • Any felony where a motor vehicle was used
  • Driving with a suspended/revoked/canceled driver’s license
  • Hit-and-run
  • Reckless stunt driving
  • Serious injury by vehicle
  • Using a motor vehicle to elude an officer
  • Vehicular homicide

Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) determines when a driver is a habitual violator. When the department labels a driver an HV, their license is immediately revoked for five years.

Restoring driving privileges

Once an HV serves two years of their five-year license revocation, they can apply for a probationary license for the remaining three years. But the HV driver must meet certain requirements before application, such as having a clean driving record for the first two years and completing a defensive driving course. They’ll also have to pay a $210 license reinstatement fee.

This probationary license restricts what the HV driver can do. The DDS commissioner determines these limitations, and can include:

  • Specific destinations where the licensee can drive to and from
  • Specific routes where the licensee can only pass
  • Timeslots when the licensee can drive
  • Specific vehicles that the licensee can operate
  • Other restrictions as determined by the DDS

If an HV driver attempts to drive without a probationary license, a court can punish them with a fine of at least $750 and a maximum prison sentence of five years.

And, HV drivers who violate the conditions of their probationary license can have their temporary licenses revoked. They’ll have to wait until the rest of their five-year revocation period expires (or wait for another two years, whichever is longer) before they can apply for a regular license.

Habitual violator charges can put drivers in a real bind, especially those whose livelihoods depend on vehicular travel. Anyone facing HV charges on top of their DUI might want to review their legal options before their court hearing.