This guide discusses the consequences of speeding in Georgia.
Slow Down! How Speeding Tickets Can Affect You
Speeding is the number one ticket police officers write. They can have a significant impact on your insurance, and will show up on your criminal driver history. (Personally, I've seen speeding tickets show up on driver histories as far back as 1988.) In Georgia, speeding is a misdemeanor traffic crime, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine. With regard to how a speeding ticket can affect your insurance, below is the number of points you will receive by pleading guilty to different speeding offenses. Speeding 15-18 over = 2 points Speeding 19-23 over = 3 points Speeding 24-33 over = 4 points Speeding 34+ over = 6 points In reality, if you do the math, speeding doesn't save you much travel time, even on long road trips. So, slow down! But, if you find yourself pulled over due to a speeding offense, here's what you should do. Immediately pull over as far off the road as possible, especially if you are on the side of a highway. Time and again, other motorists lose control of their cars and strike the police officer and civilians on the side of the road. Your police officer will appreciate this courtesy. Be polite. Police officers generally do not intend to spend their day writing speeding tickets. While there are exceptions, the majority of officers are patrolling our streets looking for more serious crimes, such as possession of drugs, DUI, and fugitives. Once they lawfully stop a vehicle for speeding, the police officers can legally investigate these crimes. Once the officer approaches your vehicle, remain calm and polite, hand over your license and proof of insurance, sign your ticket, and drive off safely. The time to consider fighting the ticket is at home or with a lawyer. Do not argue with the police officer on the side of the road. Once you're home, you have 3 options to consider: Pay the ticket, negotiate the ticket, or fight the ticket. If you pay your ticket, you will not have to appear in court. Most counties have an online payment system, and the points will be assessed to you and made known to your car insurance company. Negotiating the ticket is a bit more challenging, and will require you to speak with the prosecutor assigned to your case. Keep in mind that prosecutor will have a caseload of at least 500 cases, so the chance of him or her returning your phone call before your court date is not very likely. However, it is your legal right to pursue that option. You may have the ability to use a nolo contendre ("no contest") plea, which will keep the points off of your license. However, the speeding ticket may still be reported to your insurance company, regardless if points are removed. The most involved option is fighting your ticket. To successfully fight your ticket, it is recommended that you hire a lawyer to ensure the proper court procedures are followed.
The Court Process
Getting arrested is an emotional rollercoaster. It can and will affect the rest of your life. Clients hire me with the expectation that I can get their charges reduced or dropped. Others hire me simply to be their voice and help them navigate their way through the court system. As a North Georgia lawyer, I travel to various trial courts in different counties to practice law. In my experience, while most courts have their own unique way of operating, they all tend to follow a similar path. An arrest triggers the beginning of the criminal procedure process. The first court date for someone who has been arrested is arraignment. At this time, the person arrested learns about the State charges and has the option to plead guilty or not guilty. (In Atlanta, this court date could be as soon as the Monday after a weekend arrest.) If the arrested individual is planning to hire a private attorney, it is important that they are hired prior to arraignment. This is an important date in the criminal justice process, and one that a private attorney should attend. Although someone who has been arrested is presumed not guilty in criminal law, the arraignment is the first formal event in court and is also used as a status conference to make sure the parties are on the same page, even if everyone disagrees about the criminal charges. Additionally, an attorney only has a few days after the arraignment court date to file legal motions in a criminal case case, which is the reason why individuals who have been arrested should never wait until the last minute to hire an attorney. This is because there are certain legal motions in Georgia that must be filed with the court within 10 days of the arraignment. Failure to do so could have devastating consequences in criminal cases. The next court date in a criminal case is called calendar call or pre-trial conference. Typically, there will be far less people at this court date. The hired attorney, or in some instances court-appointed attorney, will meet with the prosecutor to discuss the details of the case and the plea offer. A plea offer is a negotiated consequence given to arrested individuals to expedite the criminal justice process. The person accepting a plea offer may be required to plead guilty or nolo contendre in order to avoid a trial. Generally, the plea offer is a lighter punishment than the prosecutor believes the arrested individual will receive at trial if a jury finds them guilty. About 95 percent of criminal cases are resolved with a plea offer. A competent and experienced attorney understands the intricacies associated with plea offers and is able to advise their clients of their options. If the person who has been arrested chooses not to accept a prosecutor's plea offer, the final court date is a trial. A trial requires the prosecutor to prove the individual on trial is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard is the highest and most difficult to overcome in the court system. Police officers, witnesses, and victims will be required to testify at this court date and explain to a jury what the arrested individual did or did not do. In defense of the arrested individual, the attorney representing the accused is allowed to call witnesses on their client's behalf or even ask the client to testify. However, it is important to point out that individuals who have been arrested have a Constitutional right to remain silent. If you, a member of your family or a friend are arrested, I highly recommend seeking assistance from a professional attorney who has the experience to help you navigate the Georgia court system.
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