Fulton County Traffic Lawyer
If you are issued a citation for any traffic infraction, you should know that there are consequences for the decisions you make in handling the problem. Fines, license suspension, and increased insurance rates are real possibilities. However, with the help of a Fulton county traffic lawyer, you may be able to lessen the severity of the consequences of your offense.
One of our diligent attorneys at Hawkins Spizman can walk you through the options you have in resolving your problem. To get started, be sure to schedule a consultation today.
Repercussions on License Privileges for Underage Drivers
Drivers under age 21 risk having their licenses suspended in traffic courts if a citation puts 4 or more points on the driving record. Often, these drivers are not apprised of the suspension until weeks after their hearing. The following infractions can lead to automatic suspension:
- Reckless driving, including racing with another vehicle,
- Leaving an accident scene such as a hit and run,
- Refusing to stop when a police officer gives chase,
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Any offense under Georgia law for which at least four points can be imposed, and;
- For drivers under 18, racking up four or more points within 12 months.
Penalties for Drivers Over 21
Older drivers should also keep an eye on how many points have accumulated on their driving record. Georgia’s point system assigns points for different driving infractions. Once 15 points have accumulated within two years, drivers over 21 will face having their licenses suspended.
What is a Nolo Contendere Plea?
Drivers can plead nolo contendere, or no contest, only once every five years. A nolo plea can be a helpful for traffic offenses that can show up on a driver’s motor vehicle registration (MVR) because points will be withheld. It can also be beneficial because it cannot be used as an admission of guilt, which would open a driver to civil liability. For example, a driver pleading nolo contendere to a hit and run with property damage may not be automatically liable for the property damage like a driver pleading or found guilty. Some offenses that may be suitable for a nolo plea include hit and run, speeding, no proof of insurance, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and following too closely. The judge has the discretion to accept or reject a nolo plea, while a driver’s insurance company will still see the infraction and nolo plea when reviewing driving records to determine insurance rates. A local attorney can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of entering a plea or electing to have a either a bench trial or a jury trial.
Insurance Rates and Traffic Violations
Most people believe that their automobile insurance premiums will go up depending on how many points they accumulate. Insurance companies will evaluate a driver’s points, but they may be more concerned with the types of infractions rather than the number of points. For instance, a driver involved in a hit and run may be assessed as a more significant risk than a driver who is driving on a suspended license. Also, insurance companies often treat nolo pleas like they are guilty pleas when determining risk. Since insurance companies do not publicize the standards they use to assess risk, a Georgia driver issued a traffic ticket should contact a knowledgeable lawyer to discuss all the options.
In Georgia, traffic citations are heard mostly in municipal court. A person accused of a traffic violation has the right to move the case to a higher court, called the State Court. The State Court affords the driver the option to have a jury trial if requested. A traffic ticket lawyer is familiar with the court’s reputation and can explain the choices a person has after being ticketed by law enforcement.
What a Fulton County Traffic Attorney Can Do for You
Your case might be as simple as proving you had valid insurance when police issued a ticket. Still, it could be as complicated as putting you at risk of losing your driving privileges, insurance, or even your job if your employer depends on your safe driving. You have many choices to make when you are ticketed, such as what plea to enter, which court to hear your case, if your charges can be lessened or dropped. The first thing to do that will benefit you is to contact a Fulton County traffic lawyer at Hawkins Spizman for guidance.