When you are convicted of a traffic offense in Georgia, the court forwards notice of the conviction to the Department of Driver Services (DDS) and the information is placed on your driving record.
Besides the loss of points on your license, convictions or guilty pleas for certain misdemeanor traffic offenses mean the automatic loss of your driving privileges and suspension of your driver’s license.
This includes DUI, hit-and-run and other misdemeanors. It can be a harsh penalty to pay for people who rely on driving for work and lifestyle.
However, all may not be lost. Depending on what you have been convicted of it is sometimes possible to apply for a limited driving permit (a restricted license) from the DDS.
This allows you to drive under certain conditions so that your ability to work and live a normal life is less impacted — while still restricting you from driving freely.
What is a limited driving permit?
Limited driving permits restrict the places to which you can legally drive AND the purpose for driving.
They are issued by the DDS and are only valid for private vehicles — not commercial ones. Most commonly, the permit lasts for 120 days from the date of the conviction for first offenders.
Another type of limited permit is an Ignition Interlock Device Limited Permit (IIDLP). This may be available for some repeat offenders, restricting these drivers from operating a vehicle unless they prove a blood alcohol content of zero.
Who is eligible for a limited driving permit in Georgia?
To be eligible for a limited driving permit in Georgia, you must generally:
- Be over the age of 21, and
- Have pleaded guilty to DUI (first conviction within five years)
Even if you do not plead guilty but have no previous offenses against your name, a seasoned DUI lawyer may be able to convince a judge that you are worthy of a limited driving permit. However, it is entirely up to the discretion of the judge whether a permit is awarded.
A court-ordered driver’s license suspension can be issued as a condition of probation. If this is the case, it is essential to follow orders and not drive.
How do you apply for a limited driving permit in Georgia?
To apply for a limited driving permit after a DUI in Georgia, you will need to do the following:
- Obtain a DS1126 form (First DUI Conviction Court Affidavit) from the court.
- Confirm that this is your first conviction in the last five years by completing the form.
- Get it endorsed by the court or, if that is not possible, obtain a certified disposition from the court showing that the DUI case has been closed.
- Take the form to the nearest DDS customer service center.
- Receive your Georgia limited driving permit after paying the $25 fee.
Remember, do not drive to the DDS center as you are not legally entitled to drive without a permit. Driving on a suspended license is an offense and can land you in further trouble.
When and where can you legally drive with a limited driving permit?
If you receive a limited driving permit from the Georgia DDS, you will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle, but you will usually be able to drive your private vehicle with strict restrictions placed on your movements.
The DDS may specify the places you can drive to and the routes you must take, the times at which you can drive and the specific vehicles you can drive.
You will likely be allowed to drive only in the following limited circumstances:
- Going to work to perform the normal duties of your job
- Receiving scheduled medical attention
- Obtaining prescribed drugs
- Going to college or school for classes
- Attending treatment sessions for alcohol or drugs or a driver education program
- Attending court or reporting to probation
- Performing community service
- Helping an unlicensed family member to receive necessary medical care or attend work or school
- Attending any other programs or activities ordered by a judge in Georgia
You can only drive when deemed necessary by the court — and you will be expected to follow the guidelines closely.
What happens if you drive illegally on a limited driving permit?
If you fail to adhere to the terms of your limited driving permit, you can expect the DDS to revoke your permit and suspend your driver’s license again.
You will generally be considered to have violated the terms of your permit if you do any of the following:
- Violate a Georgia traffic law or a local traffic ordinance, such as running a red light or speeding.
- Commit a criminal offence.
- Fail to complete a designated course, such as a substance abuse treatment program ordered by a judge.
- Drive at a time that was not permitted.
- Drive to a place that was not permitted.
If you do get a ticket on a limited permit or restricted license, you should speak to an attorney well-versed in DUI law and traffic offenses. Pleading guilty or paying a fine can lead to your permit being revoked by the DDS.
When is a driver’s license reinstated after a suspension in Georgia?
If your driver’s license is suspended in Georgia, do not make the mistake that many drivers make: believing that your license is reinstated automatically on a certain date.
You need to understand when and how it will be reinstated so that you do not create any more problems. You will not get your license back until you take certain steps to reinstate it.
For a first-offense DUI, the suspension usually lasts 120 days from the date of conviction. After that period has expired, you must submit a certificate of completion of an approved DUI alcohol/drug use risk reduction program (“DUI School”) to the DDS.
Once you pay the $210 restoration fee, you should receive your license back — but you cannot legally drive unrestricted until you do so. It is important not to “jump the gun” with this.
If you are wondering if you may be eligible for a limited driving permit or have any other queries about your DUI charge, contact Michael Fulcher Law, LLC for a free consultation.