Hawk Law Group | March 1, 2022 | Car Accidents
Driving without a valid license and driving without a license on your person are both chargeable offenses in Georgia. However, the offenses are very different. Knowing the difference between the two is important for drivers.
Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License in Georgia
All individuals driving in Georgia are required to have a valid driver’s license. However, some people drive without a valid driver’s license because their license was revoked or suspended (e.g., for driving under the influence (DUI) or another traffic offense).
Alternatively, the person may not have ever applied for a driver’s license in Georgia or renewed their license when it expired. Individuals who move to Georgia have 30 days to apply for a Georgia driver’s license.
Driving without a valid driver’s license in Georgia is a misdemeanor offense. A first offense is punishable by at least a $500 fine and two days in jail. Additionally, you will be fingerprinted, and your driving privileges will be suspended. The sentence increases for subsequent offenses occurring within five years.
The second and third convictions for driving without a license are high and aggravated misdemeanors. The fine is $1,000 to $2,500 with a minimum of ten days in jail.
A fourth conviction for driving without a license within five years is a felony charge punishable by a $2,500 to $5,000 fine and at least one year in prison.
What is Driving Without a License on Your Person in Georgia?
Georgia Traffic Code §40-5-29 requires that motorists carry their driver’s license with them when operating a motor vehicle. In addition, the driver must show their license to a law enforcement officer upon request. Anyone who fails to abide by the law can be charged with driving without a license or without proof of a license and fined $10.
This charge applies when a driver has a valid driver’s license but does not have physical possession of it when the police pull them over. The police officer may issue a warning. However, the officer may also issue a traffic citation.
If the driver appears in court and produces their driver’s license, the judge may dismiss the citation. Drivers do not go to jail for forgetting to carry their driver’s license. However, they must take time to go to court to show their valid driver’s license and pay the $10 fine. In addition, the driver’s license must have been valid when the officer issued the traffic citation to fight the charges and win.
What Happens When an Unlicensed Driver Causes a Traffic Accident?
Whether the other driver had a valid license or not should not impact your personal injury claim. You can file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider and sue the driver for damages.
However, the lack of a valid driver’s license could result in a hit and run accident. The unlicensed driver may flee the accident scene to avoid being charged for failing to have a valid driver’s license and causing a traffic accident. Unfortunately, many hit and run drivers are never located.
Working with an Augusta car accident lawyer can help. The car accident lawyer investigates the cause of the car crash to gather evidence proving the other driver caused the crash. You need evidence proving fault regardless of the type of accident claim filed. You cannot recover compensation for damages unless you prove the other driver was at fault.
The types of damages that you could recover for a car accident claim include:
- Past and future lost wages, benefits, and reductions in earning potential
- Past and future cost of medical care and treatment
- Nursing and personal care
- Household services and other out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering caused by physical injury, emotional distress, and mental anguish
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Decrease in your quality of life
Even if you were involved in a hit and run accident, all hope for recovering compensation is not lost. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it may cover a hit and run accident. Therefore, you can file a claim with your insurance company to recover compensation for the damages.
However, as discussed above, you must prove that you did not cause the car accident. An Augusta accident lawyer can help you by:
- Obtaining copies of the police report and accident report
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Searching for videos of the collision from traffic cameras and surveillance cameras
- Gathering physical evidence from the accident scene and your vehicle
- Working with accident reconstructionists and other experts
- Monitoring the investigation of the accident by law enforcement officials
You deserve to be compensated for your injuries and damages. A hit and run driver may complicate a personal injury claim, but it is possible to receive the money you need to pay bills and compensate for other losses.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today
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We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.