Nearly every citizen in Georgia has been pulled over and seen the flashing blue lights behind them. Whether it was for speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, aggressive driving, or distracted driving, it is always nerve-wracking to receive a ticket.
According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-397, aggressive driving occurs when a person operates any motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, injure, or obstruct another person including without limitation violating Code Section 40-6-42 [overtaking and passing], 40-6-48 [improper lane change or usage], 40-6-49 [following too closely], 40-6-123 [failing to signal], 40-6-184 [driving too slowly], 40-6-312 [lane usage by motorcycles], or 40-6-390 [reckless driving] with such intent.
The Hands Free law came out in 2019 and bans drivers from using their phones while driving unless they have a hands free device.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-241(c), While operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this state, no individual shall:
(1) Physically hold or support, with any part of his or her body a: (A) Wireless telecommunications device, provided that such exclusion shall not prohibit the use of an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice-based communication; or (B) Stand-alone electronic device;
(2) Write, send, or read any text-based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device; provided, however, that such prohibition shall not apply to: (A) A voice-based communication which is automatically converted by such device to be sent as a message in a written form; or (B) The use of such device for navigation of such vehicle or for global positioning system purposes;
(3) Watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device other than watching data related to the navigation of such vehicle; or
(4) Record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device; provided that such prohibition shall not apply to electronic devices used for the sole purpose of continuously recording or broadcasting video within or outside of the motor vehicle.
The gore is the divider between a highway lane and an exit ramp. It helps protect people merging into traffic and exiting traffic. It becomes a traffic offense when people cross through the gore.
O.C.G.A. §40-5-60(b) states “no vehicle shall be driven over, across, or within any dividing space, barrier, gore, paved shoulder, or section separating the roadways of a divided highway.”
Driving too fast for conditions can occur when it is raining, foggy, or many other situations. Because it is subject to the officer's opinion, most attorneys can help in this case.
The U.S. Department of Transportation deems driving too fast for conditions as exceeding a “reasonable standard” for safe driving. According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-180:
“No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. Consistently with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a reasonable and prudent speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching or going around a curve, when approaching and traversing a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions”.
Failure to maintain lane can occur when a person touches either the center line or the line to the right without properly signaling. Failure to maintain lane is a common charge associated with accidents and DUIs.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-48,Georgia law outlines how drivers should drive on roadways. According to section (1), A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
This is one of the most commonly charged traffic violations. In Georgia, you must obey all signs, lights, and arrows while driving. Failure to do so could result in 3 points on your license.
According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-20(a), the driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of an official traffic-control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter.
Failing to stop or rolling stop as it is commonly known is a very prevalent offense. We are always in a hurry and people do not like coming to a complete stop. However, you must be careful because the points on your license accompanying a rolling stop will have an impact.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-72 states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line or, if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways.
When approaching a right of way, you must yield to the appropriate parties. It includes pedestrians, other vehicles, and bicyclists. Failing to yield not only results in a ticket but often results in an accident.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-72 states:
The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall, in obedience to such sign, slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line or, if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After slowing or stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time such driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways.
Fleeing is a serious traffic offense in Georgia. Drivers must stop if a police officer in an appropriately marked car signals them to pull over.
According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-395, It shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving such signal shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle.
Following too closely is generally associated with accidents where a person is rear ended. However, you can receive a ticket by itself. The standard for whether you are following too closely is whether you were a reasonable or prudent distance away from the car in front of you. Because this is a subjective standard, most attorneys can help you fight your case.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-49 states The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
Making sure your headlights comply with the law is important but it is also important to know how to properly use your headlights.
The first statute that outlines headlight laws is O.C.G.A. §40-8-20:
Georgia law requires headlights to be on in these circumstances:
O.C.G.A. §40-8-22 details additional regulations regarding headlights:
Every motor vehicle must have at least two but no more than four headlights. Every motorcycle must have at least one and no more than two headlights. However, the most important part is that the headlights shall be maintained in proper working condition.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-270 is Georgia's hit and run statute:
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident and shall
Striking an unattended vehicle is less serious than the previously described hit and run statute.
Georgia code O.C.G.A. §40-6-271 reads as follows: The driver of any vehicle which collides with any vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and the owner of the vehicle doing the striking.
If convicted of violating striking an unattended vehicle and failing to provide information, the crime will be treated as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction in Georgia comes with a fine up to $1,000, up to 12 months in jail, or both.
Lastly, O.C.G.A. §40-6-273 outlines the duty to report an accident that resulted in injury, death, or property damage. The statute reads as follows: The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of $500.00 or more shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such accident to the local police department if such accident occurs within a municipality. If such accident occurs outside a municipality, such notice shall be given to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the state patrol.
Georgia's law is named after Spencer Pass who was a HERO (Highway Emergency Response Operator) driver. Pass was assisting a vehicle that was stranded on the side of the road when a utility truck driver hit and killed him because the truck failed to move over. Therefore, Georgia implemented the Spencer Pass law in hopes to avoid this happening in the future.
(b) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red, or blue lights shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:
(c) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary towing or recovery vehicle, a stationary highway maintenance vehicle, or a stationary utility service vehicle that is utilizing traffic cones or displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:
There are areas where u-turns are prohibited even without a sign. Being aware of these situations is important to avoid receiving a ticket.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-184 states that impeding the flow of traffic manifests when
a person drives a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.
This rule is also called the “Slow Poke” law, and it was introduced in 2014. The rule was designed to improve traffic congestion by freeing up the left lane for drivers moving faster. It also hoped to reduce accidents that result from drivers following the slow driver too closely.
According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-186, racing is defined as the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to outgain, outdistance, or prevent another vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long-distance driving routes.
"Drag racing" means the operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerated speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other or the operation of one or more vehicles over a common selected course from the same point to the same point for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such vehicle or vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.
Georgia law prohibits any vehicle on a highway of this state from participating in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration, or for the purpose of making a speed record.
Reckless driving is considered a serious traffic offense in Georgia. It is often associated with other charges, such as DUI or speeding. It can occur when a person weaves, drives at excessive speeds, or failing to stop at stop signs.
According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-350, reckless driving occurs when any person drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.
There are a couple of statutes that refer to speeding in Georgia. One of those is O.C.G.A. §40-6-180.
No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. Consistently with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a reasonable and prudent speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching and traversing a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.
A Super Speeder violation will add a $200 fine to the driver. This fine is paid to the Department of Driver Services and not to the Court.
Georgia law O.C.G.A. §40-6-189 was created with public safety in mind. Any person classified as a super speeder will be required to pay a fee of $200 to the state.
Many people find it difficult to understand when the super speeder applies. According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-187(a), “two-lane road or highway” means “a road or highway with two lanes for through-traffic movement exclusive of any portion of the road or highway adjoining the traveled way for parking, speed change, turning, weaving, truck climbing, or other purposes supplementary to through-traffic movement.”
Therefore, super speeder will apply if you are going 75 mph on a two-lane road. If you are driving on a highway in Georgia, super speeder applies if you are going 85mph. The important thing to note is that the speed limit is irrelevant in either situation.
Here are some examples where super speeder will apply even though the speed limits differ:
Driving on a suspended license is a slippery slope because if caught, you will get 6 months added onto your suspension period. This puts many people in a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-163(a) outlines the duty drivers have when encountering a school bus in Georgia.. the driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus stopped on the highway shall stop before reaching such school bus when there are in operation on the school bus the visual signals as specified in Code Sections 40-8-111 and 40-8-115, and such driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer actuated.
To make the experience go as best as possible, here are some suggestions:
Be polite and pull over as soon as possible:
This begins by pulling over to the side of the road or into a parking lot when you notice the officer signaling you. If you cannot pull over right away, put your flashers on and slow down to let the officer know you see his lights and that you plan on getting over. Turn on your hazard lights.
Put your hands where the officer can see them:
It is also best to put your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them. This is for the safety of the officer. It is also to make sure the officer keeps you safe from a possible police over-reaction.
Provide necessary information:
Officers will ask for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. It is in your best interest to comply with the request. However, you do not have to provide any other information that could convict you. Have your documents in your hand when the officer approaches your car. Vocalize each movement. For example, you can say, “I am reaching for my license and registration.”
Let the officer know if you are carrying a gun or a weapon:
If your weapon is in the glove compartment with your registration and insurance, it is best to inform the officer, and do not reach for anything unless instructed to do so by the officer.
Don't be a jerk:
No one likes to get a ticket but calling the officer names, being rude, or threatening him will not get you anywhere. It is in your best interest to be polite and respectful. Even when an officer is wrong, remember that is why a person has a right to a hearing in court.
Do not allow for the officer to search your car:
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitutional protects you from officers searching your vehicle without a warrant. Vocalize clearly that you do not consent to a search. Consent from you negates the need for a warrant. Be polite but do not agree to a warrantless search!
Determine whether or not you can leave:
For a regular traffic stop, the officer should only detain you for what is necessary to conduct the business. If the officer has already finished, but begins to ask you questions unrelated to the stop, ask him, “Officer am I free to go now?” Do not let officers go on a separate fishing expedition to see what else they could charge you with. By asking if you are free to leave, it will force the officer to decide whether he feels there is probable cause to detain you further, arrest you, or let you go.
Keep your mouth shut:
Never answer police questions outside of providing required documents such as your driver's license, proof of insurance, and registration. Answering questions such as from where you are coming or how much have you had to drink should never be answered.
Stay in your vehicle:
Do not step out of the car and approach the police officer. Remain in the vehicle and be patient. Again, do nothing to make the police officer nervous. Keep in mind that this officer knows nothing about you, therefore remaining calm and communicating clearly and politely is in your best interests.
Penalties range greatly depending on what kind of traffic violation you receive and where you receive your ticket. Some counties have much stricter punishments while others will let you off with a slap on the wrist. Most of the time, the consequences are fines and/or probation. However, there are occasions where judges assign victim panels, drug tests, and community service for traffic violations.
One of the major benefits to having an attorney is that they can try to work out a better deal with the Solicitor than you would get on your own. Whether it is trying to save you from getting points on your license or asking for the speed to be lowered, your attorney can help get you a more favorable outcome. If you have a good driving record, that is a good bargaining tool your attorney can use when discussing with the prosecutor.