Driver’s License Suspensions for Under-21 Georgia Drivers
Having your driver’s license can be especially difficult for Georgia drivers under the age of 21 since a driver’s license suspension affects not only the under-21 youth but the parents as well. A young driver in high school or college, who loses his or her driving privileges, cannot get to work, school, or after-school activities. Depending on the severity of the offense (or offenses), a young person’s driver’s license could be suspended for a period of six months or 12 months. The state of Georgia separates drivers into two classes—drivers under the age of 18, and drivers between the ages of 18 and 21.
License Suspensions for Drivers Under the Age of 18
A driver who is younger than 18 could have his or her driver’s license suspended when four or more points are accumulated during any consecutive twelve-month period. Since the majority of moving violations in the state are three points, it really is not that difficult for a young driver to accumulate four points within a year. Some violations, such as Reckless Driving and Aggressive Driving, add four points to the license, so one of these violations can trigger a license suspension. Compare the penalties for young drivers to those over the age of 21, who will not have their driver’s license suspended unless they have accumulated 15 or more points within a two-year period.
License Suspension for Those Between the Ages of 18 and 21
A driver who is between the ages of 18 and 21 has somewhat lessened driving restrictions so far as license suspensions with a few exceptions. Drivers in this age range must accumulate 15 or more points within a 24-months period before a license suspension is triggered except in the following cases:
- When a driver between the ages of 18 and 21 is ticketed for driving 24 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit, while the violation is four points, a conviction will suspend the driver’s license. Likewise,
- A driver between the ages of 18 and 21 will have his or her license suspended upon conviction of reckless driving charges.
- A driver between the ages of 18 and 21 will have his or her license suspended upon conviction of a hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident charge.
- A driver between the ages of 18 and 21 will have his or her license suspended upon conviction of a racing on highways or streets charge;
- A driver between the ages of 18 and 21 will have his or her license suspended upon conviction of using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer charge.
- A driver between the ages of 18 and 21 will have his or her license suspended for purchasing an alcoholic beverage in violation of paragraph (2), subsection (a) of Code 3-3-23.
- A driver between the ages of 18 and 21 will have his or her license suspended for a driving under the influence conviction.
Should a Young Driver Plead No Contest?
For adults, age 21 and older, pleading no-contest to charges could potentially keep the points off the adult’s driving history. Most judges in Georgia, however, will not accept a no-contest plea from a driver under the age of 21, because even if the judge accepts such a plea, the Georgia Department of Driver Services will convert the no-contest plea to a guilty plea, assessing points as soon as the plea is reported to them by the court. In other words, pleading no-contest will not stop a license suspension for the Georgia driver who is under the age of 21.
Can You Prevent a Driver’s License Suspension for a Driver Under the Age of 21?
The best way to stop a license suspension for 24 miles per hour over the speed limit for the driver between the ages of 18 and 21 is to have an experienced attorney negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the speed. As an example, if a 21-year-old driver is ticketed for driving 80 mph in a 55 mph speed zone, a Georgia criminal defense attorney could potentially negotiate with the prosecutor to drop the speed down to 78 in a 55 mph zone, making the offense a three-point violation, and preserving the driver’s driving privileges. An experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney could also have the case delayed until the driver turns 21, meaning the citation—even if convicted—would no longer suspend the young driver’s license. The driver would have to be pretty close to the age of 21 for this solution to be viable.
Some Georgia courts offer special programs for drivers who are under the age of 21; in exchange for the young driver attending driver improvement courses and/or performing community service, the court will reduce the speed on the ticket to avoid a suspension, or dismiss the ticket altogether (not all courts have these programs). When all else fails, a young driver should always consult a Georgia criminal defense attorney who will fight the ticket in a trial, potentially having the ticket dismissed. If the driver’s license of an under-21 Georgia driver is suspended, it will be a “hard” suspension, meaning there is no limited permit for work, school, or any activity at all.
Call an Experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately if You are Under 21 and Facing a License Suspension
If an under-21 Georgia driver is facing a license suspension, it can be extremely beneficial to contact Melanie Ellwanger. Melanie will fight hard to help you keep your driver’s license, working on your behalf for the best possible outcome. Melanie will be your advocate, by your side at every turn, and always in your corner. If you want to ensure your rights and your future are properly protected, you need a Georgia criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight your charges. Melanie Ellwanger is that attorney—contactMelanie Ellwanger today by calling (404) 803-3105.