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Georgia DDS Issues Clarification on License Expiration, Suspension, and Permits Due to Coronavirus Office Closures

Georgia Department of Driver Services closed its Customer Service Centers in March 2020 to protect its employees and the public.  DDS continues operations which are not customer facing.  For customers with expiring licences or driving privileges in dispute or new residents of the state, this poses some difficulties, since nothing could be done to change the status of those licenses or permits.

The Legal Department issued a clarification memorandum on March 30, 2020.

Offices will reopen on April 1, 2020, in a very limited capacity.  Those offices will only be dealing with commercial drivers who have scheduled appointments.  

So, where does that leave people who are not commercial drivers:

Expiring Licenses and Identification Cards

Georgia driver's license and identification card holders with expiration dates from March 14, 2020, through June 30, 2020, will receive a 120 day extension.  New credentials will be mailed to effected persons.  These will be mailed to the address shown on the cards.  If a holder's address has changed, they are encouraged to go online, download the DDS 2 Go app, create an online account, log in and update their address.  The app will also let the person verify any actions taken with regard to their account.

This action involves identification cards, commerical and non-commercial licenses, limited permits, driving permits and licenses and IDs validly held by non-citizens (such as legal permanent residents).

Medical certifications and CDL endorsements will be extended along with CDL licenses.

FTA Extensions

Courts can initiate failure to appear suspensions through DDS.  Those suspensions will be delayed for an additional 60 days.  Again, the mobile apps are going to be the best way to address status of those issues.  

If the issue which produced the FTA can be addressed without going to the court offices, you should investigate whether it can be resolved over the phone.

ALS Hearings

The Office of State Administrative Hearings, which ordinarily conducts hearings on administrative license suspensions is not conducting such hearings currently.  There is normally a 45 day permit issued at the time of a DUI arrest involving (1) a state breath test result of 0.08 grams or more or (2) a refusal to submit to the state blood, breath or urine test requested by the officer.

Requests for hearings can proceed as normal, but the deadline for a request for hearing (normally 30 days) has been extended to 120 days from the date of the 1205/arrest date.

The 45 day permit for such cases issued at the time of arrest will be a 90 day permit instead.

Requests for Ignition Interlock Permits

Some drivers facing an ALS may be able to elect to install an ignition interlock and apply for an ignition interlock limited driving permit in order to avoid an administrative license suspension.

Normally, the installation and application for permit have to be completed within 30 days of the 1205 form (ordinarily the same as the arrest date).  Such persons will be able to proceed in a timely fashion after Customer Services Centers re-open to the public.  Such applications will be considered beyond the 30 day deadline.

New Georgia Residents

New Georgia residents should continue to drive on their existing credentials.  Law enforcement and courts should not take punitive action for persons unable to obtain a new Georgia license.  Such persons should act within a reasonable time after the Customer Service Centers re-open to secure a Georgia license.

Sean A. Black

Sean A. Black is a 1992 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, 1992.

Comments

Margaret riddling

Posted Jan 26, 2021 at 11:22:46

I have an issue with getting my license back. Its been since 2007 and I have done everything probation had asked of me at the time. The state is refusing to release my license. I am now waiting for court on a charge of driving while license suspended in Cherokee county. Due in court 2/15/2021. I have a petion for discharge and an order of discarge paperwork but they still won’t release my licence. Can you help PLEASE

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Posted Jan 26, 2021 at 11:41:46

Unfortunately, I cannot answer your license question without an up-to-date MVR (driving history) in hand. To the extent that DDS has discretion as to whether or not to reinstate your license, they will often say no if there is a pending charge. If you are convicted of the DWLS in Cherokee County, that will cause at least a 6 month suspension.

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Emily Barrientos

Posted Apr 28, 2021 at 05:07:36

Good morning, this is April 28,2021, my birthday is tomorrow, April 29. And I still have not received my permanent license. My husband and I renewed our licenses 3/17/2021, at the same time and place. He received his new license
5 days later. I still have not received mine. I called the number given, (678)413-8400, waited 45 minutes and was told my license had not even been printed yet. What is the hold up? The service person said she would put in a request, but
That has been 2 weeks ago.. what is going on? She also told me that this happens quite often with couples and it is usually the wife who does not get her license. This is discrimination. I have written my representative,Al Williams, regarding this matter. Please call me immediately on this issue. 1(72)-641-1779
Sincerely,
Emily Barrientos

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Posted Apr 28, 2021 at 05:27:41

I do not have any information on that aspect of DDS operation. I think that what the representative observed is just coincidence. I am very doubtful that anyone at DDS is purposefully delaying women’s licenses.

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Derrick Davis

Posted Jun 12, 2021 at 01:47:50

Sir, currently my driver’s license is suspended to to a DUI from 2017, Georgia State Patrol charged me dui alcohol, at no time was I given any alcohol test. Was hit by an oncoming car, while at a complete stop, was transported to a hospital, x-rayed, then handcuffed to the hospital bed, was told I was under arrest. Not at any time was I given any alcohol test, not breath test, not a urine test, by the State Patrol Officer, or the hospital. Immediately was taken to jail, held for several days without being able to notify anyone I was incarcerated for several days. Was able to some time later contact a bondsman from using another inmates identifier pin with permission, and within an hour was released. Was given one year in jail, probated, was not able to pay and initially revoked having to serve nearly 200 days in jail. During that time I was incarcerated without my knowledge received a speeding ticket and failure to appear. Checking to DDS database I have a suspended driver’s license. Attended DUI classes, 2 out of 3 days I attended, however wasn’t able to attend the very last day (RECEIVE MY CERTIFICATE IN PERSON) January 2021. Initially wasn’t granted a certificate of completion. After January 2021, I now have a suspended COMMERCIAL LICENSE STANDING. I have not the first clue as to what that even means. Please please respond in urgency if you are able. Thank you. 912/402-8455

Reply

Posted Jun 13, 2021 at 09:33:40

If you do not have a CDL or intend to get one, the fact that your commercial status is suspended does not matter at all to you. Since CDL status has to be tracked and has different suspension triggers, this shows up on all driving histories. If your non-commercial is valid, you should be good to drive.

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