What you should know about Georgia law as your child turns 21 years old

April 11, 2012

Once your child reaches the age of 21, he or she may legally drink in Georgia, is no longer entitled to a free secondary education and is no longer subject to special traffic laws for drivers under 21.  Once your child turns 21, her driver’s license can no longer be suspended for certain specified violations or one conviction that carries 4 points; rather, she will be treated like other licensed drivers 21 and older, and will be able to accumulate 14 points every two years before her license will be suspended on the basis of points upon reaching 15 points.  Of course, driver’s licenses can be suspended for certain offenses in addition to accummulating 15 points in a two year period.

What laws apply to your 18-year-old

April 3, 2012

When your child reaches his or her 18th birthday, he or she is legally emancipated.  This means that she will be treated as an adult under the law, except for laws involving the consumption of alcohol.  Thus, the contracts (including leases) she enters into are valid and binding on her and she can do a number of things without parental consent:  marry, move out of the house, enter the armed forces, obtain an abortion and retain her own wages.  18-year olds are also entitled to change school districts or withdraw from school on their own.   Once they turn 18, they are no longer subject to the state’s child welfare laws and do not have to remain in foster care.  They are also entitled to vote in local, state and federal elections, if they satisfy other criteria such as having a valid state-issued i.d.  However, because they are still considered relatively new drivers, 18-year-olds can still have their driver’s licenses suspended for certain specified convictions (which are the same as  for those under 21) or for accumulating 4 or more points in a twelve-month period.  They are also now eligible age-wise, to apply for a regular Class C driver’s license.

What you should know about the law and your 17-year-old

April 3, 2012

When your child turns 17, she can obtain a class D driver’s license without having taken or passed driver’s ed.  She must have a valid instruction permit which is not under suspension and have not been convicted of specified violations in the previous 12 months prior to applying for the license.  She is also now considered an “adult” for criminal purposes.  She cannot vote or withdraw herself from school or change school districts without the consent of her parent/legal guardian.

A word about school and driver’s licenses:  if a child less than 18 years of age withdraws from school without being home-schooled or enrolled in a GED program or having earned a high school diploma or equivalent, she will not be able to obtain a learner’s permit or driver’s license.  Further, if a child under 18 has dropped out of school without graduating and has been out of school for 10 days in a row, or has at least 10 unexcused absences in the current or previous academic year or has violated certain specified school conduct rules (such as possessing or selling drugs or possessing a weapon on campus or at a school event, certain sexual offenses, or threatening, hitting or causing personal injury to a teacher or other school staff, or “causing substantial physical or visible bodily harm to or seriously disfiguring another person”), her driver’s license (or learner’s permit) will be suspended.  The child will receive an official notice from DDS and, if she does not send a written request for a hearing within 10 days of receipt of the notice, her permit/license will remain suspended for a year, unless certain exceptions apply.