Nearly everyone goes over the speed limit at one time or another in Georgia and inevitably there comes the time when you get caught by a police officer armed with a speed detection device. If you don’t fight your speeding ticket, then your points could tip you over the edge and you could end up losing your license. Perhaps more serious in the longer term is the effect on your insurance premiums. A guilty verdict means your offense will go on your driving record, which then becomes visible to your insurance company.
How Reliable are Atlanta speeding detection devices?
In Atlanta, you will be charged with speeding when a police officer detects your speed is over the local speed limit using one of the following three main methods:
Matching. This is when a police car “matches” your speed as it drives parallel to you on a stretch of highway. The accuracy and reliability depends on the speedometer and other instruments on that particular patrol car, which can be challenged or examined on request.
Radar Gun. This is still used, but the radar device is not the most reliable of detection devices and its calibration or effectiveness can be challenged in court. You will not be allowed to inspect an officer’s device for your own speed, however.
Laser. This is a commonly used speed detector and is the most accurate and reliable of the three methods. Few people attempt to challenge the laser and the information about a particular laser is not available to the person charged.
The Penalties for Speeding in Georgia
Speeding is a moving violation and will normally involve two main penalties with an indirect effect on a third. If you are guilty of speeding, then you will have to pay a fine as well as accrue points on your license. The number of points depends on the speed you were alleged to have been driving at over the local speed limit. This ranges form 0 points for up to 14 mph over to 6 points for 34 mph or more over the limit. In Georgia, you face having your license suspended if you have 15 points on your license.
Indirectly, your conviction will influence your insurance premiums as well. If you are convicted of any traffic violations, then insurance companies view this as being a “risk” and raise the insurance premiums. The raised premium could last for up to 7 years, and can mean thousands of extra dollars for that one offense.
What You Can Plead to a Speeding Ticket in Atlanta
There are three main pleas. You could plead guilty and accept the consequences. If it is a first offense and you know that you will not get any points or will not lose your license and think that the effect on your insurance premium is minor, then this is the easiest option. You could also plead “nolo contendere” or in plain English, “no contest”. This is almost the same as pleading guilty, without actually admitting guilt, but will mean that you probably won’t get any points added to your license. It can only be used once every 5 years in Georgia and depends on the DMV whether they will allow it.
You could also plead not guilty and opt to go to court. It is best to use an Atlanta Traffic Violation Lawyer if you opt for this course of action. This is an important and effective option if your points mean that you could lose your license or your driving record means that you could stand to lose too much in extra insurance premiums. Your lawyer may be able to challenge the validity of the speeding ticket or get an amendment to the record so it is not visible to an insurance company. If the police officer doesn’t show up at a trial, then your charge gets dismissed anyway.