By: Atlanta DUI Lawyer William C. “Bubba” Head
If you are one of the thousands of citizens pulled over in Atlanta GA traffic each month, for allegedly committing a traffic violation, you need to consider whether a traffic attorney can help you avoid a Georgia license suspension, high fines, and having your car insurance rates skyrocket. Traffic attorneys are well-versed in Georgia traffic laws, GA DUI laws, and other misdemeanor crimes that are processed through Atlanta Municipal Court.
If you were stopped for speeding or any other traffic offense within the City of Atlanta, you need to talk to a traffic ticket lawyer at a law firm in Atlanta, GA that specializes in traffic tickets and the successful defense of misdemeanor DUI cases. Remember that the Prosecutor is not your traffic ticket lawyer and that the prosecutor represents the police officer in your Atlanta traffic case.
Unless you hire an Atlanta DUI lawyer, you will be appearing alone at the Atlanta Traffic Court at some future date that is shown on your ticket. Once you retain legal counsel to handle the traffic citation, you may not have to GO TO COURT at all. In many non-serious traffic ticket cases, we can get you to sign papers letting one of our traffic ticket lawyers appear FOR YOU.
Serious and Non-Serious Offenses
This is a bit of a “trick question.” Why? First, all that any attorney has to “sell” is his or her time and expertise. The question of how much time the case will take varies widely, depending on what type of traffic ticket charges are pending.
Because some misdemeanor traffic tickets are classified as serious driving offenses, under Georgia law. Plus, some cases require trial or pretrial motions or both, plus (with driving under the influence cases) a separate administrative law court proceeding, that is triggered by Georgia’s implied consent law for DUI arrests.
Under GA laws. the word “serious” in connection with misdemeanor traffic offenses typically translates to jail time. Georgia license suspension (or revocation) and probation for a year or more. Very few Atlanta attorneys go to TRIAL on traffic ticket cases. Our Atlanta law firm has gone to trials and contented hearings on thousands of these cases, both from Atlanta tickets and over 400 other traffic court locations.
Hiring a traffic violation lawyer, for non-serious traffic ticket criminal charges, is usually done over the phone because most people do NOT want to drive through Atlanta traffic to meet with traffic attorneys. We accept credit cards, debit cards, cash, or personal check. We will need copies of all ticket tickets, by scan fax, or by mail.
If these have been lost, and the person has no idea when court occurred, this investigation will cost more, simply because more trips to Court in Atlanta (or other courthouses) may be required.
If I plead guilty or pay for traffic tickets online, can bad consequences occur?
While some citations in the Traffic Court Atlanta GA can be paid online, certain categories of traffic tickets cannot be paid online. The City of Atlanta traffic ticket online interface will block attempts to pay a DUI or other serious ticket because you or your traffic ticket lawyer MUST appear in court.
Protect your Georgia Driver’s License: Don’t Enter a Plea That Causes License Suspension
Plus, in some instances, payment of an Atlanta traffic ticket, when you represent yourself in court in Atlanta Municipal Court, can suspend or revoke your license to drive.
To answer the question, should I PAY TRAFFIC TICKETS ONLINE, your best advice is to contact a traffic ticket attorney FIRST, because trying to undo a guilty or nolo plea or obtain a change of how a conviction in Atlanta Traffic Court was recorded and sent to DDS GA, is twice as costly than doing it right from the start. That is because it will take a criminal lawyer twice as long to UNDO a mess, that handles the traffic offense right from the beginning.
In a few types of fairly serious traffic ticket cases (like driving on a suspended license, possession of weed, or reckless driving for an underage driver), we can have our client attend driving school or complete certain other conditions, in order to have a case sent to diversion, or have the traffic ticket be amended in order to avoid putting points on license. Early action can save you time, auto insurance costs, a possible suspended license, and not adding unnecessary driving points to your Georgia DDS record.
You need to look for Atlanta lawyers who have been rated to be one of the best lawyers in Atlanta for your Atlanta traffic ticket, particularly if you face criminal charges for drunk driving, hit and run, or driving with a suspended license. Driving without insurance, or other serious driving offenses.
Out-of-State Drivers and Georgia DUI
Drivers from other states appearing in Atlanta Traffic Court may have more severe consequences for certain speeding tickets that can constitute reckless driving under their State laws. Any knowledgeable Atlanta speeding ticket lawyer will WARN drivers licensed in other states to consult with a local Georgia lawyer for advice on this pitfall.
The States of Virginia and North Carolina are both licensing jurisdictions where traffic tickets like speeding can result in total loss of driving privileges. Each state is allowed to categorize traffic offenses to trigger driver’s license suspension at certain speed limits above the posted limit, which will result in total suspension or revocation of your driver’s license in your home state. The Georgia Department of Driver Services reports the high speed shown on your case to your state’s DMV or DPS office.
Drivers Under 21 Will Be Suspended More Quickly Than Drivers 21 and Over
In addition to out-of-state drivers who were traveling through Georgia, drivers who are under age 21 should be very cautious in terms of putting points on their record for a traffic ticket, since this can lead to total suspension. The accumulation of points for Georgia drivers 18 and under can cause an earlier suspension in Georgia than for adult drivers with the same number of points. A traffic ticket lawyer who is familiar with applicable Georgia traffic laws relating to your Georgia traffic ticket can save you from being SUSPENDED, and possibly help you avoid points.
Car Insurance Under 25 – What Happens if a Young Driver Gets Suspended?
Car insurance companies may significantly boost auto insurance rates for drivers 25 and younger who get points on the Georgia DMV (GA Dept of Driver Services) record, for traffic tickets. Simply shifting that teen driver (who is insured under their parents’ insurance) over to a separate policy is also problematic.
Transferring ownership of a valuable asset to a child, who makes future criminal mistakes, can expose the car to government seizure in certain situations (drug trafficking). Plus, high-risk auto insurance companies don’t typically offer affordable, higher liability coverage for what they see as risky drivers. In the event of a car accident, and insufficient liability coverage for damages following an at-fault accident occurs, such situations can put the underage driver in a precarious financial situation.
Additionally, a suspension for 6 months for a driver under 21 can drastically increase rates, since that driver will have been uninsured for 6 months or longer. This can cause the entire policy to be written under a substandard risk liability policy, for the next three years.
Municipal courts are a legislative creation that benefits cities across Georgia by leaving fine revenues in the municipality where the traffic offense occurred. Since all Atlanta traffic tickets are misdemeanors, you have a right to a jury trial, and that would mean a transfer of the case over to State Court.
Judges in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court can hear misdemeanor traffic offenses and a few other types of cases, but other more serious misdemeanors and felonies typically will be handled in either a State Court (misdemeanor cases) or a Superior Court (felony cases) in Georgia. Because the City of Atlanta is partially in Fulton County and partially in DeKalb County, your case that originates in the Atlanta Municipal Court could be transferred to either one of these counties if a jury trial is requested.
However, any DUI first offense, 2nd DUI, or 3rd DUI in 10 years can be handled in Atlanta Municipal Court. Law firms in Atlanta that know the Atlanta solicitor assigned to their client’s cases NEVER move the case out of Atlanta Municipal Court until all efforts at obtaining a favorable resolution are exhausted. Typically, for drunk driving or DUI drugs, attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia who are DUI lawyers are VERY familiar with all prosecutors at the Atlanta courthouse and can get the best deals. This may be a case that the traffic attorney can get the charge changed from to a DUI reduced to reckless driving.
Georgia Marijuana Laws – Simple Possession of Less Than One Ounce of Weed
Do not plead guilty to marijuana possession! In Georgia, our marijuana laws relating to driving are illogical and punitive. A conviction for first offense DUI marijuana will SUSPEND the offender’s right to drive in Georgia for at least 6 months. Contact one of our criminal defense attorneys to protect your ability to drive.
Also, if you have pleaded to any misdemeanor marijuana possession case previously, and had your driver’s license suspended, CALL US TODAY. We can likely get your license reinstated for you under a new Georgia law that went into effect on July 1, 2016. A rare improvement in the right of citizens who previously were convicted for possession or weed (or other drugs) and suffered a Georgia driver’s license suspension may be available.
Although the Municipal Court of Atlanta has a website, current information for your traffic ticket may not be available. You can try to call the phone number for the Clerk of Court, but getting direct information may require a trip to the court to determine when your case is going to be heard so that you don’t have a failure to appear (FTA). A failure to appear can suspend your driver’s license and create a situation where, if stopped again, you may be charged with driving while suspended. Such serious misdemeanor traffic offenses will result in your arrest, and you will have to post a new bond for this criminal case if an officer determines that your license was suspended for not appearing. Atlanta, GA police are serious about enforcing any FTA arrests or driving while suspended arrests. Call an Atlanta law firm TODAY to prevent a long-term loss of driving privileges, by not properly handling your ticket in traffic court in Atlanta.
Super Speeders in Georgia – An ADDITIONAL $200 Penalty for a Super Speeder Conviction
In addition to the potential loss of a driver’s license in the out-of-state motorist’s home state, Georgia added a “tax” on drivers who egregiously flaunted the law, by getting ticketed for a high-speed traffic ticket. Once you are convicted of any high-speed Georgia speeding ticket, you will be MAILED a letter demanding ANOTHER $200 to be paid, or your driving privileges can be suspended.
Georgia speeding laws for GA super speeder tickets target drivers on two-lane roads, that are exceeding 20 MPH or more, and drivers on multi-lane roadways, the same way, but any person speeding at 85 mph or over will be cited for super speeding in GA.
Automated License Plate Readers – Probable Cause to Pull You Over
Be aware that automated license plate readers (ALPR) exist on many high-volume traffic Atlanta highways and are even mounted on law enforcement vehicles, that roam the highways, scanning Atlanta traffic.
An Atlanta traffic ticket may be just one potential basis for your arrest and a trip to the Atlanta jail. Any Atlanta arrest will be processed at the Atlanta Detention Center on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. If an automated tag reader flags your tag as being registered to a person whose driver’s license is suspended, the officer will pull you over.
So, even where no new traffic ticket violation occurs, you still may be stopped by Atlanta police or the Georgia State Patrol, on the basis of public records showing a “problem” with your tag, your registration, your suspended license, or even an outstanding warrant for an FTA or other criminal case. These ALPRs determine if you are driving while suspended, or are wanted for a failure to appear (FTA) or other warrants.
How to Deal With Points on License – Potential Points Reduction in GA
Accumulation of too many points on your driving history can cause a driver’s license suspension. Because Georgia traffic laws have certain provisions to allow you to reduce points on your license, it may be worthwhile to contact a criminal defense attorney who handles both driving under the influence and traffic offenses in Atlanta, and who is familiar with what type of diversion or point avoidance can be obtained within Atlanta Traffic Court, rather than to plead guilty and later be suspended.
In addition, the points reduction course under Georgia laws can only be used every FIVE (5) years. You may have to attend a 6-hour driving safety class, but you can prevent paying extra insurance costs and getting points on your record by knowing how to handle your case in the Atlanta Traffic Court.
Don’t get taken to the Atlanta City Detention Center and NOT hire a top expert on traffic court, who is an experienced traffic ticket lawyer from one of the top-rated Atlanta DUI law firms. You will typically be required to be in the City of Atlanta Traffic Court within a few days.
If you have been charged with a traffic offense, call Atlanta criminal defense attorney William C. Head at 1-888-384-4323 or 404-567-5515. Our office primarily handles DUI arrests, but we also handle traffic tickets in Atlanta and the surrounding counties. Since this Atlanta traffic court is the busiest court for our law office, and we are there every day of the week.
Call 42-year veteran Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head today and get honest answers to all your questions. Tell us everything that happened and everything you remember about your DUI arrest. The sooner you call us, the better chance we have to win your DUI case and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Remember, you only have 30 DAYS to file a license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, or your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year! Talk to Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager now. We are available 24 hours a day, weekends, and all major holidays. (404) 567-5515