Driving without insurance in Georgia can incur serious penalties, depending on the circumstances. You could face up to $185 in fines and a year in jail, as well as losing your driving privileges and vehicle registration. In addition, driving a car with a suspended registration in Georgia is considered a misdemeanor, which can affect both your record and how much you pay to insure your car. Under the Georgia Motor Vehicle and Traffic laws, drivers must carry liability auto insurance in the amounts of 25/50/25 at least. If you find yourself having trouble getting insurance coverage from insurers, ask your agent about the Georgia Automobile Insurance Plan.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If your insurance is terminated or expired, your carrier will electronically notify the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). You are given 30 days from the date of the expiration to provide proof of new insurance. If the new insurance information is received during the 30-day period, and there is no lapse in coverage (a “lapse” is defined as ten or more days of no insurance coverage), there are no penalties. If proof of insurance is provided during the 30 days and there has been a lapse in coverage, you’ll face fees from $85-185, depending on the offense. Not providing proof of new insurance during the 30 days will result in the DMV sending a “Notice of Pending Suspension.” Your vehicle’s registration will be suspended at the end of the second 30-day period if proof of insurance is not provided.
The table below shows the penalties and suspensions under a 1st and subsequent offenses, followed by explanation in more detail (these penalties are in addition to any fines or penalties imposed by a court of law):
|First Offense||$25 lapse fee; $60 reinstatement fee||Driver's license and registration suspended for 60 days.||Up to one year in jail.|
|Second Offense||$25 lapse fee; $60 reinstatement fee||Driver's license and registration suspended for 90 days.||Up to one year in jail.|
|Third and Subsequent Offenses||$25 lapse fee; $160 reinstatement fee||Driver's license and registration suspended for six months.||Up to one year in jail.|
Penalties for 1st Offense
If you fail to show valid proof of active insurance when requested, or are found to be driving a suspended vehicle, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. Any law enforcement officer has the power to ask for your ID card or other evidence at traffic stops or at the scene of an accident. For the 1st offense, your license and registration are suspended for 60 days and until a six-month insurance policy is in place that meets the state's minimum. You must pay a lapse fee of $25 and a reinstatement fee of $60 to get them back. It is also possible you could receive jail time of up to 12 months depending on the circumstances.
Penalties for 2nd Offense
If you're caught driving uninsured or with an expired registration for the 2nd time within five years of a previous violation, your license and registration are suspended for 90 days. Georgian drivers again need to show proof of at least a six-month minimum insurance policy in order to get their driving privileges back. Again, you’ll have to pay a lapse fee of $25 and a reinstatement fee of $60 to get them back. A year's worth of jail time is also feasible depending on how the second offense is handled.
Penalties for 3rd and Subsequent Offenses
If the 3rd offense occurs within five years of previous violations, your license and registration are suspended for six months. You must pay a lapse fee of $25. On top of this, there's a reinstatement fee of $160 in addition to proof you're insured with at least the minimum required coverage for half of a year, in order to get your license and registration back on track. You may also be required to serve up to 12 months in jail. Additional penalties may apply if you’re convicted of driving a suspended vehicle.
Reducing the Fees
If you know that your car will not be driven for a period of time, you can voluntarily cancel the vehicle’s registration to halt your insurance without receiving penalties for being uninsured. Regardless of whether your driving needs have changed dramatically, or you want to lay low because your license was suspended, you can can cancel the vehicle registration as the registered owner at the Tax Commissioner’s office. Just go to the Tax Commissioner responsible for the county you live in, and fill out and have notarized Form MV-18J (Affidavit for Mandatory Insurance Relief of Lapse/Pending Suspension & Suspension Fees). To avoid lapse and reinstatement fees from being assessed, the vehicle’s registered owner must cancel the vehicle registration on or before the mandatory liability insurance coverage is canceled.