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Could someone tell me what I can do to contest this ticket ? What is diiference between Plea of guilty and Plea of No contest ?

Birmingham, AL |

I am a resident of ALABAMA and this last weekend I visited Atlanta, GA .I met with an accident and this happened right in front of the hotel I was staying in when I was taking
a left turn into the hotel parking deck. I was hit by a vehicle coming in at a very high speed on the left rear wheel of my SUV. There was a minimal damage (minor scratches) to my SUV and the vehicle that hit me had a considerable body damage on the left front end.
Immediately, the other driver called 911 and when Cop [Atlanta police] came in, I explained the incident but he gave me a citation for improper left turn after hearing to a taxi driver who accused me to be at fault . The cop took his details as witness to this incident. The citation requires me to attend the municipal court in 2 weeks time.

Could some

one tell me what I can do to contest this ticket ? The citation doesn't say anything about the fine I need to pay can someone tell me how much it can be? What is diiference between Plea of guilty and Plea of No contest ? What will be the impact if ask for Plea of No Contest .

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

The fact that you hold an Alabama driver license and the incident occurred in Georgia means the final disposition of the case will be reported by the Georgia court to the Alabama Department of Public Safety for entry on your Alabama driver license. Unless you are "acquitted", the clerk of the court will send the court abstract to Alabama for entry on your Alabama driver license.

The state of Alabama does not by statute or by decisional law recognize the plea of nolo contendre. However, the state of Georgia does and that is a common plea in the state of Georgia. Under Alabama law, a plea of nolo contendre is the functional equivalent of a plea of guilty. See, Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-5A-195(i) and see the case of Bell v. Department of Public Safety where the appeallate court held that an out of state plea of nolo contendre to a DUI (in Georgia) was the same for purposes of license sanction as an in-state plea of guilty.

If you wish to contest the case, you should seek the professional legal services of a Georgia attorney, and one who practices extensively in the area of traffic law and driver licensing.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

Thanks very much Patrick for the invaluable info.

Patrick Mahaney

Patrick Mahaney

Posted

I am providing this information as a public service to you - don't let a Georgia lawyer tell you, even in good faith but mistaken opinion of Alabama law, that a plea of "nolo contendre" will have "no effect" on your driver license. That may or may not be true in the state of Georgia, but it is not the case in the state of Alabama. Over years of practice, I have had numerous Alabama licensed drivers contact my office stating that they received a suspension notice from the Alabama Department of Public Safety after entering a "nolo" plea in another state (usually Georgia) and then finding out later to their dismay that the nolo plea resulted in either 'points' added to their Alabama license or an outright suspension for a DUI offense. A word to the wise is usually sufficient.

Asker

Posted

Sir, Thank you once again for your comment. From this I understand that, being an Alabama licensed driver, a plea of nolo contendre turned in in Georgia would indefinetly have a bad impact on me. With my current financial condition I don't think I could afford an attorney to help me fight this Accident citation[Ticket] . Could you please suggest me the best course of action that I could take to handle this situation for the least painful impact on me [be it current fines or increase in insurance premium]? Should I "plead guilty" instead of plea of "nolo contendre" ? Is it any way advantageous to attend the court in person or is it okay to turn in a Plea in Absentia "Plead guilty" to the municipal court in Atlanta?

Patrick Mahaney

Patrick Mahaney

Posted

If you don't have the money for an attorney - you won't know until you check - then it would be best for you to appear in court, stick to your plea of not guilty, ask for a trial - it is possible the officer will not show up and you can get the case acquitted; it is possible the prosecutor will offer you a "deal" to pay court costs only (that is not a fine and would not affect your driver license); it is possible the case will be nol-prossed just by talking to the prosecutor and explain the situation. In any event, a Georgia "nolo" plea will have the same effect on your Alabama driver license as a "guilty" plea or finding of guilty by the court.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your time and guidance in my case.

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