Your License, Your Address?
UPDATE/CORRECTION: It’s entirely possibly that I am wrong about the drivers license address issue. There is a code section that says if you disobey any license law and no penalty is otherwise stated, then it is a misdemeanor. The Court of Appeals decision could be read to say there is no penalty, or it could be read to say that on these facts it had no penalty. It’s all so confusing that it’s hard to tell. Just go change your license and be done with it.
Did you know?
A Georgia Driver’s License has to be updated with your new address within 60 days of your moving? (O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-5-33). Yep, makes perfect sense. Right? I mean, how is the government to know where you are? In fact, the penalty for failing to do that is… nothing. That’s right. The Legislature assigned NO penalty to it. If you’ve been fined by a local court for that offense, may I suggest you ask the court for a refund. There simply is not a single statute authorizing even your momentary detention for not having complied with that statute.
A case summarizes the issue. Deputy Boggus (you can’t make this stuff up) of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office stopped Bennett. Bennett gave Dep. Boggus a different address than on his license, so Dep. Boggus decided to write him a citation. While awaiting someone to bring him a citation book (really?), Dep. Boggus decided to question Bennett further since Bennett wasn’t making eye contact. One thing led to another and Bennett was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. The Appeals Court threw out the case because Dep. Boggus had no legal authority to hold Bennett since there is no penalty for not notifying DDS of one’s change of address.
Now interestingly, your Georgia Weapons Carry License (GWCL) does not have that same address requirement, in fact, a change of address is NOT grounds to get a new license. O.C.G.A. Sec. 16-11-129 provides, in part: “Such license or renewal license shall authorize that person to carry any weapon … notwithstanding any change in that person’s [address].”
Why the difference? I think it’s because your driver’s license is used to get you on the voter rolls. Let’s face it, any moron can get a driver’s license. Need proof? Drive for 10 minutes in Houston County and you’ve got all the proof you need. So since the government perpetuates idiots being able to vote, the government makes driver’s licenses part of the voter database. Getting a Voter ID card is too tough, so the government wants it to be easy for the idiots to vote. Hence, driver’s licenses are used to create that voter database.
Why not include GWCL holders in the voter database? They have been checked out with a fingerprint criminal background check, had a personal introduction to the probate court, had their picture taken, found to have no felonies or violent/drug misdemeanors, have no immoral failures that resulted in denial of a GWCL, and paid $80 for the license (not the $20 fee a driver has to pay). A GWCL holder probably understands the Constitution better than the average driver (by ten fold). Nahhh, they don’t want all of you GWCL holders in the voter database. Right?
Alas, there is no idiot conspiracy. There simply is no database of GWCL holders, under Georgia law (OCGA 16-11-129(k)). Since the government doesn’t keep a database of GWCLs issued, there is no way to register GWCL holders for voting. Government can, on occasion, make sense. Gun voters have to take the time to get registered and to vote. I think they do just that.
Kelly Burke, master attorney, former district attorney and magistrate judge, is engaged in private practice. He writes about the law, rock’n’roll and politics. These articles are not designed to give legal advice, but are designed to inform the public about how the law affects their daily lives. Contact Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org to comment on this article or suggest articles that you’d like to see and visit his website at www.kellyrburke.com to view prior columns.