Legalese — Now It’s Easier Not to Lose Your License

photo credit: Lori Duff
photo credit: Lori Duff

Senate Bill 100, passed and enacted into law effective July 1, 2015, makes some major changes about when your driver’s license can and can’t be suspended. Among other things.

This Bill is 27 pages long, so naturally there is a lot to it. The general purpose of it, as stated in the bill itself is “to repeal certain provisions for driver’s license suspensions not directly related to traffic safety.” What that means is that prior to July 1 of this year, there were a number of crimes unrelated to traffic safety that would or could get your driver’s license suspended. For example, possession of marijuana, and a lack of attendance at school. After some consideration, it was decided that your driver’s license should only be suspended for things which directly create a public safety issue in traffic.

Here are some of the changes:

There is no longer a suspension for the purchase of alcohol by someone under 21.

When someone’s license is suspended for failure to pay child support, there is now a requirement that the delinquent parents be told how they can get their license back.

The school attendance rules for someone under 18 is now only a ‘school enrollment’ rule. If you don’t attend school like you are supposed to, a license can be denied in the first place, but not suspended once you have it.Likewise, the schools no longer have to report attendance issues to the Department of Driver’s Services.

Certain categories of commercial vehicle have had the weight limit reduced from 4,537 kg to 4,536 kg. (Seriously.)

If your vehicle does not have a current emission test (which isn’t required in Walton County, but is in Gwinnett) you can now get a temporary, non-renewable 30 day registration in order to get this taken care of. This makes great sense, since sometimes people will wait until the last minute, and then when they can’t re-register their car because of the emission problem, they can’t drive the car to the mechanic’s to get the problem fixed without driving on a suspended or expired registration and getting in trouble.

In O.C.G.A. 40-5-6(a), the word “that” was changed to “such.” (Seriously.)

There are also some provisions about how organ donation is listed on your driver’s license and communicated to organ procurement organizations. Among the information that should be transmitted now is the gender of the donor. “[P]rovided, however, that the gender information shall be made available only to a procurement organization or secure data center if such organization or center has sufficient funds to cover the associated costs of providing such information.” For the life of me, besides having to add a checkbox on the form, I can’t see how saying “Male” or “Female” could be a cost prohibitive act, but apparently someone complained loudly enough for it to be in the law.

Also, if you are under 21, and you commit the offense of hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident, racing, fleeing and eluding, or reckless driving, your license will be suspended, and a nolo plea won’t help you out like it would if you were over 21.

If you have a limited driving permit because of a previous offense, and you violate the conditions of that permit or commit another moving violation, your permit is revoked, and you can’t reapply for any kind of license until it has been six months since you surrendered the permit.

Mere possession of marijuana will no longer suspend your license. Driving under the influence of marijuana, and/or possessing it while you are driving will suspend it, however.

If you take a risk reduction program, the “owner, agent, servant, or employee” can’t give you anything with monetary value if you are a student or prospective student, a police officer, a probation officer, or if you work for the court. Anything of monetary value includes actual cash, “food, gasoline cards, debit gift cards, or merchant gift cards.” I’d imagine there is a somewhat scandalous story behind this provision.

Since this is a 27 page bill, this is obviously not a full description of all the provisions in the bill. It is just an overview, and is not intended to be considered legal advice of any kind. If you think this bill applies to you or your situation, make sure you do independent research and/or contact a legal professional.

About Lori Duff 352 Articles
Lori is the author of the bestselling collection of humor essays, "Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza" currently available exclusively on Amazon. In order to finance her writing habit, she is a practicing lawyer with Jones & Duff, LLC. She is married to Mike Duff, who is a retired DeKalb County Public Safety Officer, and has two amazing children who make cameo embarrassing appearances in her blog posts and who attend Walton County Public Schools. Her legal column, "Legalese", is meant to de-mystify and humanize the Court system. When asked about her writing, Lori says, "Life is too short not to laugh at every available opportunity. My goal is to make myself laugh -- and hopefully you will laugh along with me."

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