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What happens if I’m caught driving with a suspended license?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If a driver is caught drinking then they could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Per Georgia laws, if this was the driver’s first offense in five years, their license may be suspended. After 12 months, they can have your license reinstated, but, in the meantime, they won’t or shouldn’t be driving anytime soon.

A license suspension is intended to prevent drivers from recklessly endangering their lives and others. More often than not, however, many people drive illegally despite the dangers they impose. There are a number of reasons why someone would drive on a suspended license, such as driving for work or running errands.

Yet, a driver caught with a suspended license can face severe repercussions. Here’s what you should know:

1st offense

For first offenses, a driver who is caught behind the wheel with a suspended license for the first time may be charged with a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a minor criminal charge and, thus, punished less harshly than other criminal charges. However, just because a misdemeanor is a lesser criminal charge doesn’t mean it doesn’t have severe consequences.

As such, the driver should expect to face between two days and 12 months in jail and upwards of a $1,000 fine. Additionally, the driver will suffer from a six-month license suspension.

2nd or 3rd offense

Within five years, if the driver is once again caught for the second or third time driving with a suspended license, then they’ll face harsher penalties when charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor. A sentence following a high and aggravated misdemeanor can lead to between ten days and 12 months, a possible $2,500 fine and another six-month license suspension.

4th and successive offenses

Again, within five years, if someone is found driving with a suspended license and this is the fourth or subsequent offense, then they’ll face a felony. A felony is a highly serious criminal charge that can receive capital punishment. As such, the driver could face one to five years in prison, a max $5,000 fine and an additional six months with a suspended license.

Drivers should understand their legal rights when facing criminal charges.