GENERAL TRAFFIC INFORMATION
Every traffic offense in the State of Georgia is a criminal misdemeanor. This is different from most other states where tickets are treated as a civil matter. Once you have received a traffic citation in the State of Georgia, several processes have been initiated.
The first process is the legal or court process. Every ticket you receive places you under the jurisdiction of some court in the State of Georgia. It may be a municipal court, a probate court or a state court. These courts differ in their geographic territories and the type of cases they can handle, but all can handle traffic citations.
Now, with most minor traffic offenses, you can end the legal process by paying a fine and not going to court. This is not true in all cases. You could be required to appear in court to answer to the charges because you were involved in an accident; due to your age; or your conviction would result in a suspension or jail time. For most traffic offenses, the maximum penalty is up to a $1000 plus surcharges and/or 1 year in jail. However, in the certain circumstances, the fines can be as high as $5000.00.
Once, you case is resolved in the court, the second process is started. This process involves the Department of Driver Services and your driving record. Almost every conviction is reported to the Dept. of Driver Services. Once the conviction is received, the Dept. will review your prior history and take the required action. This could result in points being assessed or even suspending your privilege to drive. Once a citation goes on your driving record, it can only be removed if there was an error in reporting by the court or the Dept.
The final process is the one my clients care about the most (and the one that can be the most costly); the impact on their insurance premiums. Every ticket that goes on your driving record could potentially cost you more in insurance premiums. One of the most important factors your insurance company considers when assessing your rates is your driving history. They learn this by looking at your driving record except in tickets involving accidents. Once your rates are raised, they will generally stay there for the next three years. A $50 per month increase in your rates will cost you $1800 mover the next three years.
In order to protect your driving record and your money (insurance rates), you must attack the ticket in the court system. To do this, you need a lawyer who knows the process and how to navigate you safely through the process. I am that lawyer and have done that for thousands of clients. Call me today for your free consultation.