(a) Any person who knowingly drives a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state at a time when the vehicle registration of such vehicle is suspended, canceled, or revoked shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Upon a first conviction thereof or a plea of nolo contendere, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 12 months and there may be imposed in addition thereto a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00, at the discretion of the court.
(c) For a second or subsequent conviction within five years as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere accepted, such person shall be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten days nor more than 12 months and there may be imposed in addition thereto a fine of not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $2,500.00.
(d) The Department of Revenue, upon receiving a record of the conviction of any person under this Code section upon a charge of driving a vehicle while the registration of such vehicle was suspended or revoked, shall extend the period of suspension or revocation for six months. The Department of Revenue may reinstate the suspended or revoked vehicle registration following the expiration of the original suspension or revocation period, the additional six-month suspension imposed pursuant to this subsection, and upon payment of a restoration fee of $210.00, or $200.00 when such reinstatement is processed by mail.
(e) For purposes of pleading nolo contendere, only one nolo contendere plea shall be accepted to a charge of driving a motor vehicle with a suspended, canceled, or revoked vehicle registration within a five-year period of time as measured from the date of the previous arrest for which a conviction was obtained or plea of nolo contendere was accepted to the date of the current arrest. All other nolo contendere pleas within such period of time shall be considered convictions.
(f) Notwithstanding the limits set forth in Article 14 of this chapter and in any municipal charter, any municipal court of any municipality in this state shall be authorized to impose the punishment provided for in this Code section upon a conviction of violating this Code section or upon conviction of violating any ordinance adopting the provisions of this Code section.
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