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How drug convictions and DUI drug convictions affect your drivers license

Friday, October 31, 2014

drug crime license suspensionsLicense Suspensions for Drug Crimes and Drug DUI convictions

Violations of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act and Drug DUI drivers license suspension are governed by O.C.G.A. §40-5-75. Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16 is known as The Georgia Controlled Substance Act (VGCSA). Drug DUIs including both illegal drugs and prescription drugs under O.G.C.A. 40-6-391(a)2, (a)4 and (a)6 are subject to Drug License suspensions. The Drug crime code sections that trigger license suspensions are found in O.C.G.A. §16-13-20 through §16-13-56. Any convictions under these codes sections will result in a license suspension ranging from 6 months to 5 years. There is no requirement that the Drug Crime be in anyway related to a motor vehicle traffic offense or even a moving vehicle.  

A. There are exceptions. There are two ways to avoid a license suspension with Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession less than an Ounce. 

I. First, Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana Pleas of nolo contendere under O.C.G.A. 16-13-2(b) will not suspend your drivers license. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) will accept a plea of nolo contendere to a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge once every 5 years pursuant to O.C.G.A. §40-5-75(c).  The defendant must be charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana less than one ounce in violation of O.C.G.A. §16-13-30(j)(1) and sentenced under O.C.G.A. §16-13-2(b). The defendant must be over the age of 16. The defendant must not have any convictions or pleas of nolo contendere to any violations governed by O.C.G.A. §40-5-75 within the previous five years, as measured from dates of arrest which would basically include drug charges and DUI drugs. 

The Judge must agree to accept the nolo plea to possession of marijuana less than an ounce. To prevent the license suspension the Judge must:  

1. Order the defendant to attend and complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program. The order shall stipulate that the defendant shall complete such program and submit evidence of such completion to DDS within 120 days. 
2. The record of the disposition of the case shall be forwarded to DDS within 10 days of the disposition. 
3. The judge shall notify the defendant that if he/she fails to complete such program and fails to submit evidence of such completion to DDS within 120 days, his/her driver’s license shall be suspended by operation of law. 

The court shall return the driver’s license to the defendant. DDS will place a pending suspension on the defendant’s record that shall go into effect after 120 days if the certificate of completion is not submitted to DDS. 

II. Second, Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana Pleas of guilty under the Conditional Discharge provisions of O.C.G.A. §16-13-2(a). The Conditional Discharge provisions of O.C.G.A. 16-13-2(a) are only for persons who have not previously been convicted of any offense under Article 2 or Article 3 of Chapter 13 of Title 16 (Georgia VGCSA) or of any statute of the United States or of any state relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drugs.
The Judge will accept the guilty plea and hold it in abeyance until the Defendant completes the conditions of his sentence at which time the case is dismissed. Discharge and dismissal under this Code section may occur only once with respect to any person.  Nothing should be reported to DDS at this time. The defendant has been placed on probation and the proceedings have been deferred; therefore, there is no final disposition. 
If the Defendant violates of a term or condition, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and proceed accordingly. The conviction should then be reported to the DDS. If the Defendant successfully completes his probation, then the court shall discharge the person and dismiss the proceedings against him. Discharge and dismissal under this Code section shall be without court adjudication of guilt and shall not be deemed a conviction for purposes of any Drivers License suspension under OCGA 40-5-75 or for purposes of disqualifications or disabilities imposed by law upon conviction of a crime. 

B. Other drug violations will carry a license suspension. The length of the suspension depends upon the number of Drug crime convictions resulting in license suspensions within the proceeding 5 years as measured from date of arrest to date of arrest. 
 I.  First Conviction (within 5 years) 
i. Plea of nolo contendere – Not accepted; shall be treated as a conviction (except for misdemeanor 
possession of marijuana as expressly described in this section). 
ii. Suspension – Yes; 180 day period beginning on effective date. 
iii. Limited Driving Permit – No 
iv. Reinstatement Requirements: 
1. Submit an original certificate of completion of a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or 
Drug Risk Reduction Program; 
2. Remit a $210.00 reinstatement fee (or $200.00 if processed by mail). 
II. Second Conviction (Within 5 years) 
i. Plea of nolo contendere – Not accepted; shall be treated as a conviction. 
ii. Suspension – Yes; 1 year period beginning on effective date. 
iii. Limited Driving Permit – No. 
iv. Reinstatement Requirements: 
1. Submit an original certificate of completion of a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or 
Drug Risk Reduction Program; 
2. Remit a $310.00 reinstatement fee (or $300.00 if processed by mail). 
III. Third Conviction (Within 5 years) 
i. Plea of nolo contendere – Not accepted; shall be treated as a conviction. 
ii. Suspension – Yes; 5 year period beginning on effective date 
iii. Limited Driving Permit – Yes, but only after 2 years of a hard suspension if defendant: 
Has not been convicted or pleaded nolo contendere to any drug related offense, 
including driving under the influence, for a period of two years immediately 
preceding the application for a permit,
iv. Completes a licensed drug treatment program approved by DDS,
v. Pays the permit fee of $25,
vi. Submits proof of financial responsibility, and
Meets all other departmental requirements.
vii. Reinstatement Requirements: 
1. Submit an original certificate of completion of a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or 
Drug Risk Reduction Program; and, 
2. Remit a $410.00 reinstatement fee (or $400.00 if processed by mail)
– Author: 

George Creal



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    George C. Creal, Jr. is a trial lawyer with 18 years of courtroom experience. He is one of only 6 Metro DUI lawyers with both an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale.com and a 10.0/10.0 Superb rating on Avvo.com.  With over 100 not guilty jury verdicts under his belt, George knows how to convince a jury that the State has not proven his client guilty of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.
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    No legal advice should be obtained from the web site alone. George C. Creal, Jr., P.C. is Georgia Professional Corporation authorized to practice law in the State of Georgia only and all information contained in this web site is intended for use for DUI arrests occurring in the State of Georgia. Individuals with DUI from outside the State of Georgia should contact a licensed attorney in the state of occurrence of their DUI. Copyright © 2014 George C. Creal, Jr. P.C.
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