Georgia has a special name for people who are constantly convicted for serious driving offenses. They’re called habitual violators. They refer to them as “HV” for short. There are special laws that apply to a Habitual Violator in Atlanta, Georgia. If you are an HV and get pulled over for DUI, you’re going to need an experienced DUI attorney in Atlanta.
In order to be labeled an HV in Georgia, you must have 3 or more major driving offenses within five (5) years. A serious driving offense would be something like a DUI or eluding law enforcement. Most of them do involve DUI.
The difference between being a Habitual Violator and any other driver is that HV isn’t allowed to drive at all. This means you can get in trouble if you’re caught driving with an HV – you don’t have to be drinking and driving.
When you earn the status of HV, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of five (5) years. If you’re lucky, you can get a limited permit to drive after you’ve served 2 years of your suspension.
So, if you’re pulled over for DUI in Atlanta and you’re an HV, you’ll be facing very serious charges. You’re going to want to call an experienced DUI lawyer right away.
First Level Habitual Violator Offense
If you have your HV permit and are caught driving outside your restrictions, you’ll be charged with an offense. This is the lowest of the HV offenses in Georgia. For example, let’s say you have your HV permit. You’re caught driving to a football game on a Saturday afternoon. Unless you’re working that football game, you’ll be driving illegally.
With an HV permit, you’re allowed to drive in the following circumstances:
- Driving to or from work
- Driving to or from school
- On your way to receiving medical care
- On your way to or from the pharmacy (for yourself)
- On your way to an NA or AA meeting
- Driving education courses or alcohol and drug treatment programs (this must be pre-approved by the judge)
If you’re caught driving outside of these parameters, you’ll lose your HV permit and your license will be suspended. It’ll stay suspended for whatever time you had left on your original HV sentence.
What if You’re Caught Driving Without Your HV Permit?
It’s actually a felony to be caught driving as an HV without your permit. The state takes your Habitual Violator status quite seriously. They don’t want you on the road. You’ve proven that you have no regard for Georgia’s driving laws. So, they want you to wait 5 years and see if you’ve learned your lesson.
If you’re caught driving without your permission and you’re an HV, you’ll face the following penalties:
- You’ll be sentenced to 1-5 years in prison
- You’ll become a convicted felon
- You’ll lose your right to vote
- You’ll also lose your right to carry a firearm
You’re more than likely also have to pay serious fines. Your Atlanta DUI can try to get the best outcome possible for you. But, if you drive without a permit and you’re an HV, there’s not a whole lot your attorney can do for you.
What is the Most Serious HV Offense?
If you’re a Habitual Violator and you’re charged with DUI, you’ll be facing the most serious consequences as an HV. This is like telling the judge that you don’t care about the law – period. Even if you’re not convicted for the underlying DUI, you still face the penalties described above for an HV caught driving.
If this happens to be your 4th DUI, you’ll be charged with a separate felony. You’ll also face additional charges. An HV charged with DUI will face more than 5 years in prison. You’ll also face additional years of your license suspension.
Your Georgia DUI lawyer will recommend you attend a drug and alcohol treatment center following your arrest. This is the best way to prove to the judge that you are serious about getting help.
Call and Retain an Experienced DUI Lawyer in Atlanta Right Away
If you’ve been declared a Habitual Violator in Georgia, you don’t want to get caught driving. But, if you do, you need to contact an experienced DUI lawyer. You’ll be facing some serious prison time – not jail time – prison time.
Your lawyer will work with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced or dismissed. They’ll fight to get you the best outcome possible.