By: Cory Yager, Ex-Police Officer, and Experienced Traffic Ticket Attorney Near Me in Atlanta GA – Over 1,000 GA Traffic Tickets Successfully Handled
Many Atlanta traffic offenses may not seem like a big deal. The simple solution seems to be “pay it” in advance, online, and never bother going to Atlanta Municipal Court. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, as the idiomatic British phase warns.
In states like Georgia, every moving violation while behind the wheel of any motor vehicle is a crime. Georgia categorizes all motor vehicle tickets as misdemeanors. The reason alone justifies hiring a traffic lawyer near me in Georgia, or at least discussing the cost-benefit analysis of legal representation.
Atlanta Traffic Offenses in Atlanta Municipal Court
However, traffic ticket violations can cause higher car insurance rates, expensive fines, or possible loss of that offender’s driver’s license. Therefore, it is vital for you to keep a clean driver’s record.
The State of Georgia has no traffic infractions as are found in Colorado and several other jurisdictions. Every moving violation in the Peach State is a misdemeanor office, which goes on your criminal record and your driving history.
Accident case are always very problematic when injuries or significant property damage occur. Pleading guilty can be one of the worst mistakes you could make. This becomes an “admission against interest” and can preempt later challenging the driver as having been at fault in any related civil litigation from the same accident.
This article will highlight why every person reading this Article should take advantage of a FREE consultation, by phone, before acting. By contacting an experienced, professional traffic ticket attorney who is knowledgeable and trained on handling City of Atlanta traffic citations, your case may be dramatically improved.
An accomplished attorney could provide you with the legal advice you need going forward. Call today to schedule a case review.
A Traffic Ticket in Georgia Is a Misdemeanor
The State of Georgia offers no different “levels” of traffic offenses for cases pending in the Municipal Court of Atlanta. If someone gets ticketed for a moving violation, they are facing a misdemeanor offense. That crime is posted on the GCIC (Georgia Crime Information Center), and the Georgia Department of Driver Services (Georgia DDS).
Examples of misdemeanor traffic offenses include:
- Speeding tickets, including Super Speeder GA high-speed violations;
- Improper lane change;
- Failure to maintain lane;
- Illegal U-turn;
- Following too closely;
- Running a stop sign;
- Red light violation;
- Failure to yield;
When Is a DUI a Felony in Georgia?
Some serious traffic offenses can be the underlying “predicate” offense to escalate charges to a related felony for serious injury by vehicle, vehicular homicide, or feticide by vehicle. Plus, by a special statutory provision, any school bus driver convicted of DUI while operating a school bus will be charged as a felony. For all crash cases involving charges like driving under the influence you need to hire a skilled traffic accident attorney.
The other underlying misdemeanor crimes that can support felonies are:
- Reckless driving GA
- DUI in Georgia
- Leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run)
- Attempting to elude a law enforcement officer
- Passing a stopped school bus discharging or loading passengers and having the “stop” flag and red emergency lights activated.
Atlanta Traffic Court
Traffic court cases arising within the city limits of Atlanta GA are first docketed at the municipal court of Atlanta. These arrests can be made in Fulton County, with a smaller area within DeKalb County and a very small sliver of property near the airport that lies in Clayton County. If a jury trial is requested, any Atlanta traffic court cases will be transferred to the appropriate State Court for these three counties.
They can also be heard at the state court of Fulton County, and a small section of traffic cases are sent to DeKalb County. Even though the airport is considered in the city of Atlanta, all airport violation cases go to the state court of the county where it occurred.
People that want to appeal a traffic offense will do so at the Court of Appeals, either from a state or municipal court to the superior court. Under OGCA 40-30-28, a person is entitled to a direct appeal from municipal court to superior court. The exception to this is DUI cases, as well as some other types of offenses.
For appealing Atlanta traffic offenses, it is wise for the offender to obtain legal counsel. A well-trained lawyer is going to know how to proceed with the case to possibly get the charges lowered or even dropped.
Penalties for a Traffic Misdemeanor Conviction in Atlanta
Georgia does not differentiate between traffic infractions and misdemeanor offenses. A penalty for a traffic infraction can be up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Jail is not likely, but it depends on the type of offense. Someone with a traffic offense could also face probation or mandatory community service. Potentially, it can include some form of a license suspension. If someone accumulates 15 points or more on their driver’s license in 24 months, they will have their license suspended.
Traffic Violation Felonies
The Georgia Legislature has altered Georgia law to permit certain serious traffic violations to become felony offenses. A fourth offense DUI has been part of Georgia DUI laws since July 1, 2008.
Plus, a fourth time conviction for while driving without a license is a felony, because the driver would have been declared a habitual violator on the 3rd conviction.
Whether facing a misdemeanor or felony, it is vital for any person charged with an Atlanta traffic offense to contact a traffic attorney near me immediately. If someone is facing a potential felony charge, an experienced traffic lawyer could possibly get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor. If you have been charged with an offense, you should seek the services to make sure that your rights are being protected. Call today to schedule a case review with a dedicated attorney.
Some people are cited for a traffic ticket and think that this is a mere nuisance, and “I’ll just pay it online.” Many times, when this is done before consulting with a traffic court lawyer, the person who decide to represent himself or herself lives to regret the decision.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Atlanta Traffic Ticket?
If you don’t need to drive, and could care less about points, or the cost of your automobile insurance bills, don’t read this section. For all others, these are eleven (11) motivations for deciding to retain a traffic offense attorney for a traffic violation charge:
1. Convenience: Being too busy or taking time off from work to have to appear in court. This may be due to the court location being a long distance from where the driver lives.
2. Keeping your car insurance rates low: Many states have an integrated auto insurance and motor vehicle crimes law (e.g., SC), where every reported traffic violation immediately pushes up your insurance premiums.
3. Avoiding points being added to your DMV-DPS-BMV-DDS record: All states use a “demerit points system” for tracking scofflaws who repeatedly fail to obey traffic laws. Accumulating points causes license suspension, sooner or later. Youthful drivers under age 21 are limited to very few points in Georgia before being suspended by DDS Georgia.
4. Job impact: In 2020, nearly 35% of all Americans will have some transportation-related employment. That number has gone up since 2016, when 30% were classified as driving dependent. Uber, Lyft and other rideshare companies has boosted these numbers greatly.
5. The driver charged with an offense may dispute one or more aspects of the pending traffic citation: Either the alleged speed was reported as being too high by the officer. A traffic court attorney knows the many ways to “contest” the case.
6. Use of a company vehicle can be a big employment “perk.” Losing this job benefit could cost you $600 to $800 a month, if you had to buy a new vehicle, plus insure it and pay maintenance costs on it.
7. A driver already on some type of Georgia limited driving permit (e.g., possibly has opted for the ignition interlock driving permit under OCGA 40-5-64.1) or restricted driver license and cannot have any new traffic offenses and continue driving. The outcome of this traffic case will decide if the accused driver keeps his or her ability to drive.
8. Trucking accidents for a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) driver must be fought in order to not have any serious traffic ticket that could suspend driving privileges or cause termination. A person with a CDL license needs to fight every ticket, whether in an 18-wheeler or in his or her personal vehicle. Traffic lawyer cost is a mere drop in the bucket for losing a highly paid over the road truck driver job.
9. Some states have very tough criminal sanctions for high speed driving. Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Connecticut are some of those states. Virginia reckless driving charges carry jail time and going 20 mph over the limit qualifies for driving recklessly.
10. Truck or car accident claims with substantial financial exposure in a civil lawsuit judgment in personal injury cases that would arise from this collision.: Some drivers realize that this at-fault collision may result in a judgment that will exceed their liability insurance coverage. Our firm can help find both a civil accident lawyer and act as the criminal traffic ticket lawyer in the case.
11. Car wrecks that are based on cases involving a serious motor vehicle crime like hit and run, DUI-DWI, reckless driving or attempting to elude an officer are “predicate” driving charges that can support a felony, if serious injury or a fatality has occurred: Car accident cases need the best traffic accident lawyer as well as a personal injury attorney who can help settle all claims.
When separate personal injury law firms are representing multiple crash victims, an intermediary is needed to guide the defense of that civil litigation to settle all medical expense, pain and suffering, vehicle damage and loss of wages claims within your insurance policy limits for all related auto accident claimants.
A local, experienced traffic violation lawyer near me can make a huge difference in the outcome of most (but not all) traffic violation cases. Over 50 possible types of traffic ticket case resolutions have been structured by one of our veteran traffic citation attorneys near me in metro Atlanta.
This array of settlement options includes dismissal of the charges, having the original charge reduced, or changed to a non-reportable offense, using driving school to divert the case, and a myriad of other creative solutions for these problematic and distracting cases. In the overwhelming majority of our law group’s cases, some significant improvement over simply paying fines and possibly having your driver’s license suspended or revoked will be achievable.
Top Ten Rules for Choosing an Attorney for Traffic Tickets Near Me
- Total number of GA traffic misdemeanor cases handled by the attorneys at this firm;
- Familiarity with the Georgia court where the traffic case is pending;
- Has received legal industry awards, recognitions and accolades in the Atlanta metropolitan area;
- Prior high-level client attorney ratings posted on sites like AVVO and Google;
- Having a “capped” legal fee limit (flat fees) for most routine traffic cases not involving accidents;
- Clear knowledge of both this practice area and the many solutions that will help mitigate your insurance, points and financial “costs;”
- Operates by getting you to execute a power of attorney so that you never (or only once) must go to court on non-serious driving violation cases;
- Permits a FREE consultation and (if the lawyer is retained) gives you his or her cell number for purposes of quick communication;
- Has office staff to take calls with your traffic attorney Atlanta is in other court cases;
- Gives you an opportunity to explain your case and provides a positive attitude about being able to get something done to lessen the impact of the pending charges.
Using AVVO or the Georgia Bar directory, you may be able to search for prior bar complaints on the ticket attorney. Finding whether a traffic ticket lawyer near me has ever been subject to discipline is important, but also know that low lawyer ratings by prior clients can be a red flag. Although Bar-related disciplinary actions do not necessarily impact the attorney’s competence to handle your traffic violation case, what you learn may impact your hiring decision.
More About Our Atlanta Traffic Lawyers at Our Three-Partner Legal Firm
In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, online searches occur for a traffic violation attorney near me. The author is a Georgia traffic attorney, Atlanta-based, and covering a 19-county area centered on Atlanta Georgia.
Additionally, our law office is linked to over 20 other highly capable traffic lawyers in every corner Georgia for local traffic ticket violations of every type and description. These can be anywhere in the State of Georgia.
Discover how one of our Atlanta criminal lawyers at our law firm can help protect your right to drive, by representing you on your traffic ticket in Georgia. Start by reaching out to us on our 24-HOUR NUMBER: 404-567-5515. Our Partners will provide a FREE lawyer consultation and answer questions about legal fees.
Get FREE legal advice from former cop and top-rated Atlanta traffic ticket lawyer Cory Yager., or from Partner Larry Kohn has more than 20 years of experience in traffic courts, while handling over 2500 traffic citation cases in Georgia. Mr. Kohn has also garnered over 470 FIVE–STAR AVVO reviews. Both law partners have repeatedly been named to Super Lawyers in Georgia, as criminal defense attorneys.