Whether or not you are involved in an accident in Georgia, receiving a citation can be very stressful. If a collision occurred, the other involved driver will likely use your ticket as evidence that you were at fault for causing your accident. Even if you were not involved in a collision, receiving a traffic ticket can cost money, add points to your driving record, and cause your insurance rates to increase. Whether or not you were involved in an accident when you received your citation, a GA lawyer for accident tickets at our firm can help to fight against your ticket. Here are some common types of traffic offenses you might be ticketed for following an accident.
Following too closely
When a rear-end collision happens, the driver in the back is likely to receive a ticket for following too closely. This traffic offense is found in Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-49. Under this statute, drivers are supposed to leave enough space between their vehicles and others so that a different car will have enough room to move into the space. However, when motorists drive around the Atlanta metro area, this is rarely the practice. The statute refers to driving with enough distance as is reasonably prudent for the traffic conditions while taking the speed of traffic into account. The statute also includes provisions for drivers in caravans and those that are pulling vehicles. However, motor vehicles traveling in funeral processions or parades are exempted.
If you are found guilty or admit the offense, you will have three points added to your driving record. In Georgia, people who accumulate 15 or more points on their driving records within 24 months will have their driving privileges suspended. Following too closely is also a misdemeanor offense carrying a potential fine of up to a maximum of $1,000. Since it is a misdemeanor, you might also be placed on probation for up to 12 months. However, that is rarely ordered.
Failure to yield
There are multiple statutes addressing failing to yield, including the following:
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-72 – Failing to yield at crosswalks, stop signs, or yield signs
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-71 – Failing to yield to oncoming traffic when turning left
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-70 – Failing to yield the right-of-way at intersections
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-73 – Failing to yield when entering or crossing a road
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-76 – Failing to yield to a funeral procession
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-75 – Failing to yield to a construction vehicle
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-74 – Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-41 – Failing to yield oncoming traffic when pulling out to pass
• Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-55 – Failing to yield to a bicyclist
There are numerous situations in which drivers are expected to yield. If you don’t and cause an accident, you can receive a ticket. For example, if you turn left when you have a flashing yellow light and do not yield to an oncoming car, you can receive a ticket.
Failure to yield is a misdemeanor offense under any of these statutes. If you are found guilty or admit to the offense, you will receive three points on your license and a fine of up to a maximum of $1,000. Your insurance premiums will also likely increase. While up to 12 months of probation is possible, it is unlikely to be ordered. The amount of your fine will depend on the circumstances of your case and the jurisdiction where the violation occurred.
Failure to maintain lane
Under Ga. Code § 40-6-48, you can receive a ticket for failure to maintain lane if an officer sees your vehicle cross over the center or sideline of your lane without signaling. However, the statute specifically states that drivers should drive within their lanes as “nearly as practicable”. This seems to allow for drivers to move their vehicles to try to avoid road debris when they can do so safely.
Officers commonly use this traffic offense as a reason to stop and investigate drivers for drunk or drugged driving. If an officer detects signs that you might be under the influence, he or she will investigate further. However, you can receive a ticket for failing to maintain your lane even when you are not impaired by any substances.
If you are convicted of failing to maintain your lane or admit to the offense, you will receive three points on your driving record. The maximum fine for this offense is $1,000. However, the fine you might receive will vary, depending on where you were stopped and ticketed. This offense is also a misdemeanor, meaning a conviction will appear on your criminal record.
Get help from a GA lawyer for accident tickets
If the police issued you a ticket after an accident, you should get legal help from an experienced attorney. While you might think these tickets are relatively minor, a conviction could result in a blemish on your record, stiff fines, and higher insurance rates. We can also help you if you have received one of these or another type of traffic ticket without an accident. With a strong defense, it is possible that you could have the charge dismissed or receive a plea offer for a non-moving violation that does not carry points. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.