In Georgia to have a status as a Habitual Violator (HV) you have to be arrested and convicted of three serious driving offenses in a five year period. Once you have HV status, your regular driver’s license will be suspended for five years.
A serious driving offense is a DUI, but it also includes offenses like hit and run, racing, and using an automobile in the commission of any felony.
To qualify for the five year suspension, all of the arrests have to be within the five years. This is different than the dates of the convictions
The state is required to notify you of your HV status. In the worst cases prosecuted in Georgia a certified letter delivered to your last known address has been found to be enough proof at trial if it goes unchallenged by the Defense. See King v. State, 246 Ga. 644 (1980). This is considered to be valid notice. There is a strong argument that this is in violation of your right to Due Process under the Georgia and United States Constitution, but has not been considered by Georgia’s Supreme Court. The constitutional error is that the Defendant has to prove he did not receive the notice. It should always be the State’s job to prove you guilty on every element of a crime.
If you think you have been convicted of three serious traffic offenses in five years, you should check to be sure you do not have an HV status.
Once you have an HV status you will not be able to get a driver’s license for two years. It is very important that upon notice of your HV status that you give the Department of Driver Services (DDS) either your license or an affidavit of a lost license. The two year clock during which time you cannot get a driver’s license does not start running until they receive this.
After the two years, you may be able to get a probationary license that will last for the other three years.
If you are caught operating a vehicle while having an HV status and without a probationary license, you may be guilty of a felony and get a fine of $750.00 and potentially spend five years in jail. Also, operating a vehicle is slightly different than driving. Sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine on is operating the vehicle.
If you have an HV status because you got three DUI convictions in five years and you are caught operating a vehicle without a probationary license, your vehicle may be forfeited to the state. You may also get a $1,000 fine and potentially five years in jail.
Once you have your probationary license, the penalties that you receive are different than those that you received before you got the probationary license. If you are operating the vehicle outside the terms of your license, you may be charged with a misdemeanor.
If you are convicted of a DUI or a serious traffic offense of the kind that got you into HV status in the first place while you have a probationary license, you may be convicted of a felony and you could get five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. Also your probationary license may be revoked and you may not be able to get your license back until two years from the new offense or five years from the original revocation, whichever is longer.
After the five year suspension has expired, if you have not gotten your license reinstated properly you may still be charged with a misdemeanor for operating a vehicle.
At the end of five years, you can apply for a new driver’s license and your full driving privileges will be restored. To be sure that your HV case is resolved in the best way possible and that you don’t lose your driving privileges for any longer than necessary, it is best to hire an attorney to help you with this situation.
DeKalb County News 12:13 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 Text size:
Seven students arrested during Emory protestShareThisPrint E-mail .By Christian Boone
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Seven students, four from Emory and three from other local colleges, spent Monday night in jail following a confrontation with Emory University officials who had ordered them off the campus quad.
The protesters, representing Students and Workers in Solidarity, say a university administrator told them they had not properly reserved the quad and promptly supervised the dismantling of a makeshift tent city that had formed after last Wednesday’s sit-in at Emory President James Wagner’s office. The group is targeting alleged unfair labor practices by Sodexo, the university’s food and beverage vendor.
In a statement sent to reporters, administrators said the protesters violated a “long-standing university policy [prohibiting] unauthorized use” of campus space. The arrests came after the students refused to vacate the last tent standing, according to school officials. The arrests were captured on video by fellow students.
Protesters say they will return to the quad at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to “show solidarity” with those arrested, said SWS spokesman Alex Zavell.
The seven students, who face criminal trespassing charges, were released Tuesday morning on bond.
Return to ajc.com for updates.
To Blow or Not To Blow, with DUIs that is always the question
If you are ever stopped for DUI, you will have a choice to make regarding whether or not to submit to the state’s test of your blood alcohol level. There are good reasons to take the test, but there are some good reasons not to. There is no correct answer.
When you are arrested for a DUI there are two separate cases against you. There is the ALS (administrative license suspension) case and the criminal case. Most of us are aware of how things work in a criminal case. The state has to prove to a jury that you did what they say you did beyond a reasonable doubt. The ALS hearing is different and you have to request it.
After your arrest, you will have 10 business days to request an ALS hearing at which point you can challenge the administrative suspension of your license. After the hearing if the administrative judge finds for the arresting officer and against you, if you chose to take the test and this is your first DUI, you may be able to get a provisional permit from Georgia’s Department of Driver’s Services to drive a car the same day.
The ALS case is a civil case. It is a case about your license suspension. If you refuse to take a breath test and the administrative judge finds for your arresting officer you cannot get a permit to drive. The reason for that is that you impliedly agreed to take the test when you got your driver’s license. Georgia courts have found driving to be a privilege and not a right.
If you refused to take the test and your license is lost at the ALS hearing you will not be eligible for a limited permit or early reinstatement of your license. You will lose your license for one year unless the criminal charges are dismissed, reduced, not prosecuted, or you are found not guilty.
If you took the test, there are still ways that the evidence of the test can be challenged. The breathalyzer machine has flaws, and these can be exploited in the criminal case.
There is also the possibility that you might not blow over the legal limit. If you blow over, the legal limit is .08, it will be presumed that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. But even if you don’t blow over the limit, you still can be found to have been a less safe driver, meaning you are guilty of DUI, because of alcohol if the police can show you were not capable of driving your car safely.
The ALS trial is completely separate from your criminal trial. In the criminal trial, the police will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. They will have to convince six jurors of this fact and the jury must decide unanimously that you were guilty. This is much harder to do if they don’t have the evidence of the breath test on their side. It is also harder to prove that you were driving under the influence if you refused to take any field sobriety tests. The state can use the fact that you didn’t blow against you at trial, but this fact is not as damaging to your case as a blood alcohol level over the legal limit of .08.
The major issues that you have to weigh in making your decision are how badly you need to be able to drive and how badly you want to fight the criminal prosecution.
If this is your first DUI and you need to have your license for work it is probably better to take the breath test. You will likely be able to get a provisional license immediately after the ALS hearing that would allow you to drive until your criminal trial. However, the result of the test is an additional piece of information that the police can use in the criminal trial against you. It is much easier to convince a jury that you were intoxicated if there is a scientific test in evidence that shows your blood alcohol concentration.
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, but my advice would be to blow if you have to drive or your life would fall apart without the ability to drive. If you can get by without a car for a year and you are more concerned with fighting your criminal case then not blowing gives you the best odds of being found not guilty of DUI.
Dunwoody police to tweet all calls during 24-hour period starting Friday at 6 a.m.ShareThisPrint E-mail .By Kristi E. Swartz
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Dunwoody police have taken their use of social media to a new level.
They will be tweeting every call during a 24-hour period starting Friday at 6 a.m., Chief Billy Grogan said.
“To give everybody a view of what we do in a typical day, we’re going to tweet all of our calls,” Grogan said. “It will give them kind of an idea of what we do and how busy we are.”
Dunwoody police officers respond to a total of between 60 and 100 calls each day. The department took about 31,000 calls in 2010, Grogan said.
Two supervisors will be tweeting the information: Sgt. Jason Dove, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sgt. Jason Witcher from 6 p.m to 6 a.m.
The department’s Twitter account is @DunwoodyPolice. Friday, all calls will be marked with a #DPDcalls hashtag.
Grogan said Friday’s efforts are just one more way the police department can connect with the community.
“One of the ways you can build trust is through transparency,” he said.
The police department has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, both of which are updated frequently.
Grogan said that while making note of a call in 140 characters or less won’t take that long, the officers won’t let it get in the way of doing their jobs.
“If they are busy, they aren’t going to be tweeting the calls, they are going to be handling the calls,” he said. “If we have something bad happen, we may not tweet for a couple of hours if we are dealing with a situation.”
When can the police search my car and should I let them.
Being stopped by the police for any reason can be a nerve wracking experience even for someone who is not doing anything wrong. Add to that the guilt that comes with having been found breaking the law, the typical driver is not in the proper frame of mind to assert his or her rights at the time of the stop.
What you need to remember when you are stopped by the police is that we all have rights granted to us by the constitution and these cannot be taken away from us. One of these rights was granted to us by the fourth amendment. It guarantees the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures.
When you are stopped by the police for any reason, it is important to remember that they are not just allowed to search your vehicle for no reason. The majority of the searches of vehicles that the police conduct are lawful because the owner of the vehicle (that’s you) granted them permission to search the vehicle.
The police may tell you that this will all be easier if you let them search your vehicle or may try to intimidate you into letting them search your vehicle, and while you should always always ALWAYS be nice and polite to the police, you do not have to give them permission to search your vehicle.
You do not have to allow the police to search your vehicle, and they cannot do it over your objection unless they have “probable cause” (or a warrant). Probable cause is a somewhat vague term in the legal field, but it basically means the police have to have some good reason to suspect that you are up to something illegal. It is like a hunch of the officer but backed up by reasonable suspicion.
The police could have probable cause to search your vehicle as a result of your behavior, your appearance, or the appearance of your vehicle. For example, a smell coming from you (or the car) or slowed reflexes may indicate to the officer that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and he or she would likely have probable cause to search your car. Also, if you throw something out of the window or hide something under the seat, the officer will be able to search your vehicle.
Being stopped for a speeding ticket or an expired license or other minor traffic violations is not probable cause.
The two most common ways that the police get probable cause is to see contraband in plain view in your vehicle, or by smelling the contraband (or smelling the results of its use). In order to be sure the police do not to have probable cause to search your vehicle, don’t have or do anything illegal in your vehicle (or anywhere else, but especially not in your vehicle).
If for some reason you do come into possession of something that may be frowned upon by the police, make sure it is not in plain view from outside of the car. To minimize what is in plain view, if the officer asks you to get out of the car, it is wise to close the door to the car as you exit. Keeping anything of questionable legality in the glove compartment or the trunk is much better advice than to keep it in the interior of the car, where ir could be in plain view. However, this strategy is far from foolproof.
In reality, if the police have probable cause, they have probable cause to search for specific items, not specific parts of a vehicle. So for example if the police had probable cause to believe that you were in possession of marijuana, they can look for any place that marijuana could be hidden. This includes the locked glove compartment, trunk, or any other containers in your vehicle.
But remember, the police have to have probable cause to search any part of your vehicle unless you give them permission to search it. And you don’t have to let them.