First Steps to Dealing with a Georgia Traffic Ticket
Your first step is to find out where you stand. Contact the court that issued your ticket and make sure they've recorded the right citation, and that you're fully aware of your upcoming court/payment dates. You don't want to face additional fees, penalties, or worse because you're not clear on important upcoming dates.
If you received a simple red light camera ticket, you can pay your ticket, as well as review your case, the video of your incident, and more online.
Georgia Moving Violations Explained
Receiving a ticket of any kind in Georgia means a few things. First of all, if your license is in good standing, you're looking at a fee between $200 and $300 dollars, but that's just the beginning.
It's unlikely but, depending on the nature of your violation, you could face the maximum penalties for a moving violation. That means paying as much as $1000 dollars and even going to jail for 12 months for your red light citation. Then there are the points you'll be adding to your license.
When found guilty of a moving violation points will be added to your license, which can result in an increase to your insurance premiums, or worse, as well as an eventual suspension of your driver's license. Each traffic violation in Georgia, unless you have committed additional violations at the same time, adds 3 points to your license.
Georgia Diver License Points System Explained
You face potential consequences as you accumulated license points in Georgia. If you are younger than 21 years of age and rack up 4 points within a 24-month period, your license will be suspended.
Drivers 21 years old and older will have theirs suspended if the accumulate 15 points or more within 15 months.
Georgia Ticket OptionsSo, you've received a ticket. You know how much it's likely to cost you and you know how many points you're facing if found guilty. The question is, what are your options now? Thankfully, you have several:
Pay the fine
The simplest option will always be to pay your ticket, but there are a few things you should know about doing so. First, by paying your ticket you are in effect pleading guilty to your violation. This means that you will have to pay the full amount of penalties and court costs, as well as be assessed the 3 points to your license for being convicted of a red light violation.
Contest Your Ticket
You always have the option to enter a not guilty plea with the court and contest your ticket. You could win and have your charges dismissed entirely. However, you risk spending additional time and money doing so, and there is no guarantee that you will succeed. You should consider professional representation if you lose your case and you'll be liable for any additional court and lawyer fees, as well as your original fine. Not to mention you'll still face the dreaded increase in your auto insurance premium.
Ticket Dismissal Through a Defensive Driving Course
You may be eligible to take have your ticket dismissed, or up to 7 points removed from your license, by taking a defensive driving course. If you are, you'll be able to dismiss your ticket, and avoid points being added to your license as well as potential increases to your insurance premiums.
The steps to successfully dismissing your ticket through driver education are simple:
- Plead guilty or no contest to your ticket
- Request permission to take a defensive driving course
- Register for a GA DDS approved defensive driving course
- Complete your defensive driving course
- Submit your driver record and defensive driving certificate of completion to the court
Note that you may only take a defensive driving course for ticket dismissal, point reduction, or insurance discount of any and every kind, once every 5 years.
Making Your Ticket a Distant Memory
Receiving a red light ticket in Georgia doesn't have to break the bank, or create long term complications you'd rather not deal with like a license suspension or increased auto insurance rates. In many cases, taking a defensive driving course could be your best option. Whichever path you choose to follow knowing what you're up against in terms of fees, fines, and penalties as well as the options you have to minimize them is the first step to putting your troubles behind you.
You can possibly prevent your license from being suspended by taking a defensive driving course, and could even help you save money on your insurance premiums.
It's never fun to get a traffic ticket, no matter the reason, but failing to address it can cause long-term problems for the state of your license, your insurance rate, and potentially, your freedom. Getting ahead of the issue is the best course of action, and knowing everything you possibly can about the citation and point system in Georgia is the first step toward putting the whole thing behind you.