Atlanta is the ninth most populous city in the country, with a population of nearly six million people and thousands more who commute to and from the city every day. Because most Atlantans rely almost exclusively on their vehicles to get around our sprawling city, receiving a traffic ticket in the Atlanta area is nearly inevitable. Though they may appear relatively minor, these citations can result in substantial fines, skyrocketing insurance rates for years to come, and potentially even license suspension. Even the process of dealing with the traffic ticket is a hassle – without a Georgia Traffic Attorney, you can almost count on spending at least one entire day sitting in the courtroom and waiting for your case to be heard. An experienced Georgia Traffic Attorney can not only potentially spare you the hassle of sitting idly in court, but can also negotiate a lower fine, reduced charge(s), fewer points, or overall dismissal of your case.
Georgia uses a points system in order to determine which drivers are habitual offenders. It assigns points based on the severity of the charges. Drivers over 21 who accumulate 15 points in a 24-month period of time will have their licenses suspended. Below is a breakdown of the points assessed for various offenses (click on the statute to read the code section:
Points System for Traffic Offenses
|Code Section||Offense||Points Assessed|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-397||Aggressive Driving||6|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-163||Unlawful Passing of a School Bus||6|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390||Reckless Driving||4|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-45||Improper Passing on a Hill or Curve||4|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-20||Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device||3|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-2||Failure to Obey Police Officer||3|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-253||Possessing an Open Container of an Alcoholic Beverage While Driving||2|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-248.1||Failure to Adequately Secure Load, Resulting in an Accident||2|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76||Violation of Child Safety Restraint – First Offense||1|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76||Violation of Child Safety Restraint – Second or Subsequent Offense||2|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.1||Violation of Usage of Wireless Telecommunication Device Requirements||1|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.2||Operating a Vehicle While Texting||1|
|O.C.G.A. § 40-6-54||Improper Use of Designated Travel Lane – 4th and Subsequent Offense||1|
A conviction for driving “Too Fast for Conditions” under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-180 does not result in the assessment of points. You may also hear this referred to as a “basic rules” violation. All other moving violations carry a 3-point penalty, with the exception of speeding. You can find more information about speeding here.
Once every 5 years, drivers may request that the Department of Driver Services remove up to 7 points from their driving histories. This can be done by completing a defensive driving course and either mailing the original certificate to DDS or presenting it in person to a DDS office. A list of DDS-approved defensive driving programs can be found here.
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-57.1, younger drivers are held to a higher burden than are older drivers. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that younger drivers, especially those who rely on their licenses to get to work and school, speak to a Georgia Traffic Attorney prior to entering a plea (or an admission in a Georgia Juvenile Court).
If a driver is under 21 years old and is convicted any of the following offenses, his/her license will be suspended.
- Hit and Run – O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident – O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270
- Racing on Highways or Streets
- Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer
- Reckless Driving – O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390
- DUI – O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391
- Any offense for which four or more points are assessable under O.C.G.A. 40-5-57.
If a driver is under 18 years old and accumulates 4 or more points within a 12 month period, his or her license will be suspended.
It is important to know that a plea of nolo contendre, or no contest, is considered a conviction and will not prevent license suspension for drivers under 21.
If a younger driver’s license is suspended under either of these provisions, he or she may be eligible for reinstatement after 6 months for a first suspension, and after 12 months for a second suspension. For a first suspension, the person must pay a reinstatement fee of $210 (in person) or $200 (by mail) and provide proof of completion of a defensive driving course. For a second suspension, the reinstatement fee is $310 (in person) or $300 (by mail). For DUI cases, other requirements also apply – see here for more information.
Whether you are a younger driver or whether you have years of experience behind the wheel, if you are charged with a traffic offense, you need an experienced Georgia Traffic Attorney. Don’t waste hours of your life sitting in court only to be hit with a huge fine, points on your license, and high insurance rates. Call me today.