Traffic Offense Attorney Georgia

Woman driver pulled over by police car - police lights in background

Speeding, reckless driving, and other traffic offenses may not seem like a big deal. However, in Georgia, traffic tickets are criminal violations and can often lead to criminal convictions, license suspensions, and hundreds of dollars in fines and surcharges. That’s why you should always work with an experienced Georgia traffic offense attorney to weigh the costs of defending against criminal charges, and develop a strong defense when your driving privileges are on the line.

Is a Traffic Ticket a Criminal Offense?

Georgia doesn’t work the same way as other states, where traffic violations may be charged as “civil infractions” and only carry a fine. In Georgia, every moving violation is charged as a criminal misdemeanor or felony. This means that if you don’t contest your speeding ticket or driving without insurance charge, you will have a misdemeanor conviction on your record. If your employment, immigration status, or student loans require a clean criminal history, you may want to hire a Georgia traffic court attorney to defend even a minor traffic violation.

While many traffic offenses only result in a fine they could have more severe consequences. Traffic misdemeanors, for example, carry a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. You may also need to pay mandatory add-on surcharges for probation, incarceration, or use of an interlock device after a DUI conviction.

Will a Traffic Offense Cost You Your License?

Every traffic conviction will also automatically add points to your driver’s license. Common traffic violations range from 2 points for speeding between 14 and 19 miles per hour over the posted speed limit to six points for passing a school bus unlawfully. One traffic offense’s points won’t cause you to lose your driver’s license, as long as you are over the age of 21. However, those points remain on your license for 24 months after conviction. That means they can accumulate over time. If the total number of points on your license reaches 15, it will be suspended or revoked.

Read more about traffic violation points here.

Automatic License Suspension for Traffic Violations

In addition to the points on your licence, certain more severe traffic violations carry automatic license suspension upon conviction. Your driving privileges will be suspended if you are convicted of:

  • Vehicular homicide
  • Felonies involving a motor vehicle
  • Fraudulent use of a driver’s license
  • Highway races
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Fleeing a police officer by car
  • Leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident
  • Serious injury by vehicle
  • Driving with a suspended, cancelled, or revoked registration

Your license can also be suspended automatically if you are stopped for drunk or drugged driving and refuse a blood alcohol test (breath, blood, or chemical testing). If you have already refused the test, the only way to get your license reinstated before the end of the suspension period is to be found not guilty of the underlying drunk driving or DUI charges.

New Drivers and License Suspensions

Drivers under 21 years of age must be especially careful when driving. Georgia law makes it far easier for a new driver to face license suspensions. First, drivers ages 18 - 21 may only accumulate 4 points on their license within a 12 month period. That means even a single traffic stop certain offenses will push them over the limit and cause a driver’s license suspension:

  • Reckless driving
  • Passing on a hill
  • Unlawfully passing a school bus
  • Aggressive driving
  • Speeding more than 24 miles per hour over the speed limit

When Do You Need a Georgia Traffic Attorney?

Anytime you receive a traffic ticket, it is a good idea to have a consultation with a Georgia traffic attorney to weigh your options and decide whether to admit guilt or contest responsibility. When the specific traffic offense carries an automatic suspension, it is especially worth your while to defend your rights and protect your driving privileges. Your Georgia traffic attorney can also investigate whether alternatives to conviction are available, such as a nolo contendere plea.

Your driver’s license can also be suspended as a penalty for failing to appear at a traffic court hearing. Anytime you want to contest a ticket or avoid a misdemeanor traffic conviction, you will need to appear in Georgia traffic court. Often, your traffic offense attorney can appear on your behalf, which keeps you from having to miss work. However, if you don’t hire a traffic offense attorney ahead of time, your license could be suspended as a consequence.

Get Help with Georgia Traffic Offenses

At the McCoy Law Firm, LLC, our criminal defense attorneys have handled hundreds of traffic offenses -- both as defense attorneys, and as former prosecutors. We know when it is worth the money to defend a traffic ticket, and how to protect your driving privileges. If you have been charged with a traffic offense, please contact the traffic offense attorneys at Criminal & DUI Law of Georgia so we can begin working on your case right away.