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Georgia has a points system which applies to moving violations. Speeding tickets are subject to point assessments in the following manner:
15 to 18 mph over posted speed limit 2 Points
19 to 23 mph over posted speed limit 3 Points
24 to 33 mph over posted speed limit 4 Points
34 mph or more over posted speed limit 6 Points
“Points” the number of points you are assessed will determine the consequences you will face for receiving a traffic ticket. In Georgia, if you accumulate 15 or more points in a two year period the Department of Driver Services will suspend your driving privileges. Considering the recent Super Speeder Law it is not hard to accumulate 15 points in a two year period. For persons under 21 years of age the law is much tougher. Drivers under the age of 21 can have their driving privileges suspended for violation of any one one of certain offenses or accumulating as little as 4 points within a twelve month period. Under age drivers should contact an attorney immediately upon receiving a citation.
Regarding how insurance companies view "points". Most insurance companies are not concerned with the number of points on your drivers license. They are however very interested in the offenses that led to the accumulation of those points. Certain offenses like reckless driving, DUI or Super Speeder can cause an insurance company to immediately surcharge your premiums or even do an Non-Renew when your policy comes up for renewal. Even if you plead Nolo Contendere (No Contest) and there are no points on your license the offense will still show on your driver's record and an insurance company can still surcharge your premium. Obviously, the best thing to do is to make sure neither the offense nor the points are reported to the State Department of Drivers Services. This is what our firm strives to do.
In Georgia, officers use three main methods of speed detection approved by the Department of Public Safety: 1) Lasers; 2) Radars; 3) Pacing with the Patrol Vehicle.
Lasers: Laser device readings are commonly accepted and few challenges are successful. Most officers use this device for that reason. Contrary to popular belief, officers do not have to show the readout on the device to the driver. The fact is that Laser devices are not unbeatable and a skilled attorney can successfully challenge or reduce the speed reading of the Laser.
Radars: Radar devices are less accurate, as they are not target-specific. These devises are older and not as widely used as Laser at the current time. There are significantly more evidentiary foundation issues that make it complicated for officers to properly admit radar results into evidence in court. Drivers have a right under Georgia law to request that the officer check the radar device for accuracy, but do not have the right to see the radar device readout.
Pacing with the Patrol Vehicle: As it implies, pacing is where the officer uses his speedometer to calculate the speed of another vehicle. In these cases, the calibration and accuracy of the patrol vehicle are important to verify in court. Most police vehicles have two speedometers. One is installed by the manufacturer of the the vehicle and a second speedometer is installed by the Law Enforcement Agency. It is the second speedometer that the officer uses to Pace cars. This device should be calibrated at regular intervals.
Nolo Contendere (Nolo)
There is a lot of confusion over the use of the plea called Nolo Contendere, Nolo or No Contest which will result in no “points” being assessed for the conviction. It is not as beneficial as many people believe. You may use this type of plea once every 5 years, and it will only be allowed at the Judge’s discretion. Even if a “Nolo” plea is allowed, it will not prevent the conviction from being reported to the Department of Drivers’ Services. Your liability insurance company may still surcharge you and raise your premium rates since the conviction will still be reported.
David A. Lipton
Attorney at Law
4036 Wetherburn Way
Norcross, Georgia 30092
Phone (770) 797-9968
Fax (770) 797-9967
All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The authors disclaim any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein. Legal advice should be sought directly from a properly retained lawyer or attorney.