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Traffic Tickets

Getting charged with a traffic offense can be quite serious and may adversely impact your life for years into the future. Most traffic offenses are considered misdemeanor crimes, but there are other traffic offenses that can be charged as a felony, which means a conviction could stay on your permanent record for years, spike your auto insurance premiums, and result in you serving time in jail. This is why it makes sense to contact Atlanta traffic ticket lawyer Thomas C. Nagel. He has been representing clients charged with various type of traffic violations in courtrooms across Georgia for over 30 years. Mr. Nagel routinely defends clients in Fulton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County and Gwinnett Counties as well as all cities in each county. In addition, Mr. Nagel has tried cases in Sandy Springs Municipal Court, Roswell Municipal Court, Marietta Municipal Court, Atlanta Municipal Court, Dunwoody Municipal Court, Alpharetta Municipal Court and Smyrna Municipal Court.

Examples of Common Traffic Ticket Violations

As mentioned, there are an array of different traffic violations and infractions that carry different forms of punishment, if convicted. Here are examples of some of the most common traffic citations that are issued in and around Atlanta.

Speeding Ticket

Many people who are issued a speeding ticket simply opt to pay the fine and go about their day. However, it is important to understand that paying the speeding ticket is effectively a guilty plea which could result in points being assessed on your driver’s license. The ticket could also result in you having to pay substantially more to secure automobile insurance.

Driving with a Suspended License

Driving with a suspended license is a serious risk since, if you are pulled over by law enforcement, you could be subjected to severe penalties. The fact that you need to commute to work or visit your doctor is considered immaterial to the police officer's decision to charge you with operating a vehicle on a suspended license.

Potential Penalties for Traffic Offenses

As mentioned, the vast majority of traffic offenses in Georgia are considered misdemeanors, which means they are punishable by having to serve up to 12 months in jail and having to pay a $1,000 fine.

Traffic Infractions that Carry Harsh Penalties

Not all traffic violations can be resolved by paying a fine online. There are some traffic violations that are deemed more serious and carry significant, potentially life-altering penalties.

Passing a School Bus

One of the most serious traffic offenses that people may not immediately contemplate is the unlawful passing of a school bus. If convicted of this traffic offense, you could have six points added to your driving record, which could result in a suspension of your driver's license and a massive spike in your auto insurance premiums.

Reckless Driving

In Georgia, someone can be charged with reckless driving if they are deemed to be operating a motor vehicle with reckless disregard for the safety of others. This offense also includes a reckless disregard for property. For example, if you fail to stop at a stop sign or run a red light, these are considered to be forms of reckless driving.

Charged with Having an Open Container of Alcohol While Driving

Having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle is never recommended and can result in a serious traffic citation. If you are convicted of having an open container in your vehicle, you could have two points assessed on your driver's license, which will likely impact your auto insurance premiums and put you at risk of having your license suspended. It is also important to understand that it does not matter if the open container was actually being consumed by you or not. The mere fact that the open container of alcohol was in a moving vehicle is sufficient for police to charge you with this offense.

Charged with a Hit-and-Run

One of the most serious traffic offenses that can be charged against an individual in the State of Georgia, is a hit-and-run. This charge could arise if you were involved in an accident that results in another individual suffering a bodily injury or damage to a vehicle driven by another person. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270 , you are legally obligated to stop your vehicle as close to the scene of the accident and provide your name, address and vehicle registration to the other motorist. In addition, you must show your license to the other involved motorist if they ask to see it. If another party involved in the accident is injured (whether it be the other driver or a passenger), Georgia law requires you to provide reasonable assistance that may include taking the injured individual to get medical assistance if it appears such assistance is necessary or if the person requests immediate medical assistance. If the injured individual is unconscious or deceased or unable to communicate, you are legally obligated to contact police and request an ambulance.

If you fail to comply with these statutory requirements, you could be charged with a hit-and-run, which is a felony offense. If convicted, you could be ordered to serve at least one year in prison, but that could be expanded to five years in prison.

In addition, if you are convicted of a hit-and-run in Georgia, you will have a mandatory suspension of your driver's license, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 40-5-54.

As you can see, a hit-and-run criminal charge is extremely serious and can impact your life for years down the road, if convicted. This is why you should contact a knowledgeable and experienced Atlanta traffic defense attorney to discuss your legal options. An attorney can help review the facts of your case, investigate the incident and develop a compelling defense. It is worth noting that there are situations where a police officer might charge an individuals with a hit-and-run when other charges are more appropriate. Depending on the facts of your case, license suspensions can be avoided and charges can be reduced or even dismissed, if you have an effective advocate on your side. This can make a big difference when renewing your auto insurance or applying for a new job.

Deciding Whether to Plead Nolo Contendere for a Traffic Violation

The legal term nolo contendere simply means "no contest." It is important to understand that if you decide to move forward with a no contest plea, the court considers this to be the same as pleading guilty to the traffic offense. This means you could be subjected to penalties that have long-term ramifications on your future. For example, depending on the facts of your case, pleading guilty to the traffic offense could result in you having to confront the following penalties:

  • Serving probation
  • Having points assessed on your driving record
  • Paying court costs and related fines
  • Having your driver's license suspended

As a result, before simply accepting the violation and paying the fine, take the time to speak with an experienced traffic ticket defense lawyer in Atlanta.

Failing to Appear in Court is Never a Good Idea

If you are ordered to appear before a court for a traffic infraction, ignoring this directive is a huge mistake and will only make the situation worse. If you fail to appear in court, there is a high probability that a judge will suspend your driver's license. If your license is already suspended, you will likely have to pay a massive fine in order to get your license reinstated, in addition to other penalties.

What Motorists Under the Age of 21 Need to Know About Traffic Court in Georgia

If you are ordered to appear before a traffic court in Atlanta and you are 21 years old or younger, do not expect leniency because you are young. In fact, younger motorists charged with serious traffic infractions are actually more likely to have their driver's license suspended by a judge. This is because driving is considered to be a privilege, not a right. If you are a younger, relatively new driver, and you are being charged with a serious traffic offense, the court could determine you lack the requisite level of personal responsibility to maintain driving privileges.

Why It Makes Sense to Hire an Experienced Traffic Defense Lawyer in Atlanta

When you are charged with a serious traffic infraction, you may be feeling anxious and unsure about the future. You are fearful of having your license suspended, points assessed on your record, and your auto insurance increasing to the point of being unaffordable. Do not fret – an experienced and skilled traffic defense lawyer can help. When defending a person charged with a traffic ticket, a savvy and seasoned traffic defense lawyer in Atlanta can help you in a variety of ways, including serving as your negotiator, advocate, and counselor. A traffic defense lawyer in Atlanta can also explain the potential consequences you are facing if you are found guilty, or decide to plead guilty. A lawyer is there for you every step of the way to ensure your rights are protected and you fully understand your legal options.

Take Action Today by Contacting an Experienced and Respected Atlanta Traffic Defense Lawyer

If you or a family member is charged with a traffic infraction in or around Atlanta, take the time to contact traffic defense lawyer Thomas C. Nagel. For over 30 years, Mr. Nagel has defended clients in various traffic cases and will work tirelessly on your behalf. He also offers free, confidential consultations to all prospective clients.

Mr. Nagel's vast experience includes representing clients in Fulton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County and Gwinnett Counties as well as all cities in each county. In addition, he regularly appears in Sandy Springs Municipal Court, Roswell Municipal Court, Marietta Municipal Court, Atlanta Municipal Court, Dunwoody Municipal Court, Alpharetta Municipal Court and Smyrna Municipal Court.

Call Attorney Thomas C. Nagel at 404-255-1600 and arrange your free, confidential consultation today.

Client Reviews
"Dear Tom, I just wanted to thank you again for everything. You saved my life. I’m so glad I picked you. What were the odds? I don’t know how you pulled it off. If I run across anybody that needs legal advice I will definitely recommend you. My life is back to normal thanks to you. I know it could’ve been much worse. Thanks Again!" E.G.