If you are driving in Atlanta, there are many things that you cannot do if you are behind the wheel. What happens if you get stopped for a serious traffic offense and are required to appear in court? While most traffic offenses are misdemeanors under Georgia law, defending against a traffic offense can be complicated, particularly when there are other factors involved. You should know that you can face costly fines and even jail time if you are convicted. It is important to work with an aggressive traffic offense attorney in Atlanta who has experience handling cases like yours. At Thomas, Webb and Willis, we have years of experience assisting clients throughout the Atlanta area.
In the meantime, which traffic offenses should you learn more about if you are driving in Atlanta? Chapter 40 of the Georgia Code deals with traffic offenses. We would like to discuss a couple of those with you today.
According to a report from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, distracted driving greatly increases the risk of a serious car accident. Distractions can take many forms, but the Georgia legislature is particularly concerned about texting while driving and cellphone distractions that take teen drivers’ eyes off the road. In Atlanta traffic, looking down at your cell phone for even a few seconds can result in a traffic collision. A survey from May 2008 showed that “Georgia has the third-highest rate in the nation for drivers who text on cell phones while behind the wheel.” Indeed, 37 percent of Georgia drivers admitted to composing or reading text messages while they were driving.
How do Georgia laws attempt to prohibit these distracted driving behaviors? In 2010, HB 23 prohibited all texting while driving and prohibited the use of hand-held cell phones for teen drivers. If you cited for texting while driving in Atlanta, the law makes clear that you can face a fine of $150.00 in addition to one point on your license for “violation of usage of wireless telecommunications device requirements.”
Atlanta drivers should also know that failing to wear a seat belt is a traffic offense in Georgia. To be sure, Georgia is a primary enforcement state. According to a fact sheet from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Georgia is one of 34 states with primary seat belt laws for occupants in the front seats. This means that you can be stopped and ticketed solely for failing to wear your seat belt. In other words, you do not need to have committed a separate traffic offense in order to be stopped (as is the case in states with secondary enforcement laws).
What are the consequences if you are stopped for failing to wear a seat belt? The answer to that question depends upon whether you were cited for an adult safety belt violation or a child safety belt violation. You may face additional penalties if you did not properly secure your child’s safety belt.
If you were cited for a traffic offense in Atlanta, it is extremely important to have an experienced advocate on your side. A dedicated Atlanta traffic offense lawyer can discuss your situation with you today. Contact Thomas, Webb and Willis for more information about how we can assist with your case.
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