It is against the law to drive in Georgia without a valid license. It doesn't matter if you don't have a license because it was revoked or because you failed to renew it once it expired. Get caught driving without one, and you risk not only losing your freedom, but also hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines.
You can check your license status online on the Department of Driver Services' website.
When your driver's license is revoked, your driving privileges have been taken away by the state. This could happen for a variety of reasons, including driving without insurance, failing to pay child support, and accumulating too many points on your driving record within a short period of time. In some cases, you can reinstate your license by taking certain actions, such as paying past-due child support if your license was revoked for nonpayment. In other instances, you may be required to wait out a prescribed period of time.
When your license has expired, your driving privileges were not taken away. Instead, they terminated on a predetermined date, usually on the expiration date listed on your license. DDS allows drivers to renew their licenses as much as 150 days in advance of the expiration date and as late as two years after this date. DDS typically sends renewal notices by mail. Drivers can renew their license at a local DDS office, by mail or online if eligible. Generally, unless DDS requires further action, such as requiring a driver to take an updated photo at a local DDS office, it typically sends new licenses to drivers in the mail upon receiving the renewal. If further action is needed, however, DDS usually requires drivers to pick up their license in person at a local office.
If you are caught driving without a valid license, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, you face between two days and one year in jail and fine between $500 and $1,000. If your license was revoked for a specific time period, the court will attach an additional six months to this time. For example, if your license was revoked for a period of six months, a conviction will extend it to one year. This means you will not be eligible to reinstate your license until the one year revocation period is over.
If this is the second or third time driving without a valid license and all of these violations occurred within a five-year period, you will be charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor. The punishment for this offense is between 10 days and 12 months behind bars if convicted. You also will be fined between $1,000 and $2,500. The charge increases to a felony if you're caught driving without a license four or more times within five years. This carries a penalty of one to five years in prison and fine between $2,500 and $5,000. In addition to jail time and fines, an additional six months will be added to any current revocation period in place.
After complying with the terms of your punishment, such as jail time and fines, your license is not automatically reinstated. Additional steps are necessary, such as the payment of a reinstatement fee. To determine the reinstatement requirements for your individual case, contact DSS at (866) 754-3687 or (678) 413-8400. You can also mail your request to Georgia Department of Driver Services, Post Office Box 80447, Conyers, Georgia 30013. Include your name, address, driver's license number, and date of birth. If you prefer to visit a local DDS office in person, you can find a list of customer service center locations on DDS' website.