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Headlight, Taillight, and Tag Light Violations

Equipment violations are relatively minor charges in the grand scheme of Georgia Criminal Law. However, an equipment violation ticket can still be a hassle to deal with – it can result in a fine and/or a day wasted sitting in traffic court.

I also frequently see equipment violations in conjunction with DUI cases or drug cases. The police are allowed to stop a person for any legally valid reason, even a minor equipment violation, and they are given a lot of leeway under Georgia law. Many police departments take full advantage of this and investigate equipment violations thoroughly, in the hopes that an equipment violation will lead to a more serious charge.

The most common equipment violations I see have to do with headlights, taillights, and tag lights.

Headlight Violations

Under O.C.G.A. § 40-8-22, every motor vehicle that is not a motorcycle must have at least two (but not more than four) headlights, one on each side of the front of the vehicle. Motorcycles must have at least one but not more than two headlights. Headlights for all vehicles must be properly maintained and may not be covered with any material. Under this law, a burnt out headlight is a violation of the law.

O.C.G.A. § 40-8-20 states that lights must be used any time from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise, any time it is raining, and any other time when there is not sufficient visibility to see 500 feet ahead.

Taillight Violations

O.C.G.A. § 40-8-23 requires that all vehicles made after January 1, 1954 be equipped with two taillights that emit a red light that is visible from a distance of 500 feet behind the vehicle. A burnt out taillight can be a valid basis for a stop under Georgia law.

This law also applies to towed trailers. All taillights must be between 20 and 60 inches from the ground.

Tag Light Violations

O.C.G.A. § 40-8-23 also covers tag lights. It requires that either a taillight or a separate light illuminate with a white light the rear license plate and render it visible from a distance of 50 feet behind the vehicle. It must be illuminated every time the headlights or auxiliary driving lights are activated. A tag light violation can legally form the basis for a stop. See Hampton v. State, 287 Ga.App. 896, 652 S.E.2d 915 (2007).

Why hire a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney for an Equipment Violation?

In many Equipment Violation cases, an experienced attorney can save you money and time wasted sitting in court.  If you have been charged with an equipment violation, call me today.

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Kevin Fisher

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