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Failing to respect Move over Law. 288$ Traffic ticket! Is this normal?

Atlanta, GA |

Hello,
I got arrested on a Highway in Alabama for not respecting the Move over Law. After having spend some time on this forum, I consider that I am victim like many other of the abusive use of Failing to the Move over Law by Alabama Troopers (they arrest someone on the shoulder for some reason, give him a ticket, and arrest the next car who didn't move over... Leapfrogging form one car to another).
Basically, this is my first traffic offense in the US.
He told me that the fine was 49$ and today, when I log on, I see that the fine is 288$.
Is that normal? Seems like a racket to me.
What should I do?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

In DeKalb County, GA, where I assisted a family member who was ticketed for one of these violations (known as "Spencer's Law", I believe), the fine was $750. I , too, was incredulous when I first looked it up. I was able to negotiate with the assistant district attorney and reduce it considerably, but it was still very expensive.

Not too much you can do here. You'll probably have to return to the county in AL where the traffic court is for the initial hearing/arraignment. Perhaps at that time you can get the prosecutor to reduce the offense to something less, something that avoids points on your insurance record. You can also attempt to retain a local atty there to assist you, but that will likely cost twice as much as the ticket. Good luck.

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-668-3790 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at don@HawbakerLaw.) An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated my Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your help. I really apreciate it. One question though, do I go to the traffic court in AL before the due date of my trial to negociate? Am I able to negociate alone? What if people in my car witnessed that the trooper talked about a 49$ fine oraly? Thank you for those precisions,

Donald F. Hawbaker

Donald F. Hawbaker

Posted

The trooper doesn't have the authority to bind the state to an amount. That approach, if attempted, will be futile but I suppose you could mention it to the asst d.a. You can negotiate alone, no need to have an atty or other representative. You'll have to look up the AL "move-over" law. IIRC, an exception to liability under these laws is if moving-over would have been unsafe, such as another car in the lane to your left. If it is consistent with the truth, and I mean that very seriously, and there was a car in your left lane such that it would have been unsafe for you to move over, that may be the basis for a defense or at least a basis to initiate a negotiation with the asst d.a. If they sense a weakness in their case, they MAY negotiate the fine or offense to something more tolerable. But DO NOT lie, and don't pursue that if it's not truthful. Finally, you can try and contact the traffic court prosecutor ahead of the scheduled appearance date, but they probably won't get back to you. That's why I initially suggested you would have to go back to the AL county for the first hearing, where the prosecutor would almost have to give you some amount of time to discuss a resolution. In my experience, that's what has to be done, as inconvenient as it may be to you.

Asker

Posted

You are a life saver sir. Thank you! I don't have real defense except that the police car was stopped after a hill which I didn't see at first. Now, I found some info from AL law (2009), saying that failure to move-over is 25$ the first time, 50$ the second time etc... Can I rely on that when I will se the d.a. in AL? Should I be cautious when citing my (online) sources? Thank you,

Donald F. Hawbaker

Donald F. Hawbaker

Posted

Sure, by all means cite the contents of the law to the d.a. That's the best resource there is. If the d.a. resists, ask: on what basis is s/he trying to impose a larger amount; why doesn't the provisions of law you're citing not apply, etc.

Asker

Posted

Thank you very much sir,

Posted

$288 is not a large fine for this offense. YOu need to inquire of an Alabama licensed attorney as to whether you have any viable defenses to this ticket. For instance, in Georgia, if the traffic is heavy and there is not an opportunity to move over, slowing down considerably complies with the statute.

Allen R. Knox
125 TownPark Drive, Suite 300
Kennesaw, GA 30144
(678) 334-1399

Posted

You should probably post this question under "Alabama Traffic Tickets" to get better answers. However, in Georgia this is a misdemeanor offense and the officer can arrest at his discretion. The decision to arrest is entirely up to the arresting officer.

James L. Yeargan, Jr. is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. All information given is based only on Georgia law, and is not directly applicable to any other jurisdictions, states, or districts. This response, or any response, is not legal advice. This response, or any response, does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information. Any state specific concerns should be directed to an attorney who is licensed to practice law in that respective state.