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How do DUI work permits work in Georgia?

Whenever a driver pleads to a first time DUI, they will be eligible for a "limited permit" (this is commonly known as a "work permit"). What's the difference between this work permit and a normal driver's license? What can I not do with a work permit?

What can I do on a work permit?

The limited permit generally allows for driving to work, school, and doctor's appointments. It also allows you to drive for anything related to your probation or your sentence. For example, you can drive to probation or to drug/alcohol counseling or to perform your community service. You may or may not be allowed to drive your children to doctor's appointments or school. And, incredibly, you may or may not be allowed to go to the grocery store. 

The DDS Traffic Court Reference Manual states: "DDS will issue a limited driving permit [for a first DUI, or first DUI in the last 5 years] if the application indicates that refusal to issue such permit would cause extreme hardship to the applicant. The permissible uses of each limited driving permit are reflected as restrictions printed on the back of the limited permit." In other words, DDS can create limitations specific to your specific work permit. This means DDS can create limitations that are different for each driver.

Georgia law gives the DDS the power to do this in OCGA § 40–5–64. It says: 

(d) Conditions attached. A limited driving permit shall be endorsed with such conditions as the commissioner deems necessary to ensure that such permit will be used by the permittee only to avoid the conditions of extreme hardship. Such conditions may include the following restrictions:

(1) Specific places between which the permittee may be allowed to operate a motor vehicle;
(2) Routes to be followed by the permittee;
(3) Times of travel;
(4) The specific vehicles which the permittee may operate; and
(5) Such other restrictions as the department may require.

So, your individual limitations may be different than someone else's. You must look on the back of your limited work permit (after DDS gives you the permit). 

Can I drive out of state on a work permit?

No. The permit only permits you to drive within the confines of the State of Georgia. 

Can an out-of-state driver get a work permit?

No. If someone with a license from another state gets a DUI conviction in Georgia, they cannot be issued a work permit in Georgia. 

Can I get a work permit if it is my second DUI within five years?

No, at least not for 120 days. You do not qualify for a limited permit for a second DUI in a five-year period until you have had at least a 120-day hard suspension. And, when you do qualify for the work permit (after the 120 days) you will then also have to have an ignition interlock installed. 

How do I get a work permit after a first DUI conviction?

If you plead guilty to your first DUI (or after 5 years from your last DUI conviction), you need to ask the judge to give you a certificate of first conviction (sometimes called an affidavit of first conviction). You then take this document straight to any DDS office and request a limited permit. All this document does is inform the person at DDS that you pled to a DUI (the paperwork from court takes a while to be uploaded to DDS's system and without the document they will not have any proof you pled to a DUI and need a work permit). This document allows DDS to issue you the limited permit (aka the work permit). 

How long does the work permit last?

The work permit, on a first time DUI in Georgia, lasts for 120 days. After 120 days you can go get your full license reinstated. But, you must have completed a DDS approved "Risk Reduction" program and you must pay $210 for reinstatement.

What if I get a speeding ticket while driving on a limited permit?

If you get a  speeding ticket (or other traffic ticket) while you are driving on a work permit it is imperative that you DO NOT PAY THE TICKET. If you pay the ticket that is a guilty plea and you will have your limited permit revoked! You will receive a license suspension for a whopping 12 months. But, you will get credit for the time you were driving on the limited permit. For example, if you were on the limited permit for 60 days, then got a speeding a paid the ticket -- you will have a suspended license for 10 months. 

If you have questions about a work permit, give us a call at 770-249-4405

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