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Georgia Driving and Traffic Laws

If you're going to be driving in Georgie, it will be helpful to look into their particular set of driving and traffic laws before you enter the state. Armed with that knowledge, you should be able to avoid any frustrating and costly run-ins with the law. Since the police will not excuse your disobedience to the law because of a lack of knowledge, it is your job to make sure you know as much about the law as you need to in order to drive safely and correctly in GA.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most serious traffic violations you can commit in Georgia. The statue used to have one of the higher Blood Alcohol Contents (BAC) in the country, permitting drivers to continue operating their vehicles unless they had a 0.1% BAC or higher. However, in order to keep impaired drivers off the road, Georgia has lowered the maximum BAC for drivers over age 21 to 0.08%.

However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. If you are a commercial driver, you cannot have a BAC that is 0.04% or above and, if you are under 21, you need to keep your BAC under 0.02%. If your BAC is ever 0.100% or higher, you will face stiffer penalties for your DUI.

If you are pulled over and the police offer suspects that your driving might be impaired by alcohol, you must submit to any test he requires of you. Having a Georgia driver's license automatically implies consent to these tests under GA's law, so the state expects that you will comply with the officer's wishes. The officer can request a test by blood, breath, urine, or some combination of the above (including all three, if he deems it necessary). If you refuse any of these tests, your license will automatically be revoked for a year, even if you were not guilty of a DUI violation.

Penalties for a DUI in Georgia vary based on how serious your violation was (your BAC when tested), how old you are (drivers under 21 years of age face stiffer penalties), and how many DUI violations you have accumulated. Most DUI penalties in the state include a fine, community service time, attendance at an anti-DUI training program, and can include jail time.

Traffic Violations in Georgia

For all other traffic violations in Georgia, you will receive a traffic ticket from the officer who pulls you over. You can either pay the ticket or contest it, unless it is a more serious violation that requires a court appearance. If this is the case, the officer will probably inform you of that when he gives you the ticket. In addition, any violation will be reported by the state to your insurance company, unless you were guilty of violating the speed limit by less than 14 miles per hour.

Each ticket issued in Georgia has a particular point value. If you accumulate too many points, your license will be revoked and you will be unable to drive in the state. If you are a private (noncommercial) driver aged 21 or older, your license will be suspended if you receive 15 or more points in any consecutive 24 months. You will lose your license for a year, unless you meet the conditions set for an early reinstatement.

If you are younger than 21, you will face different points regulations than older drivers. If you are aged 18 or younger, you can only accumulate up to 4 points in any 12 month period before you lose your license for at least six months. If you are between 18 and 21, you can accumulate more points but will still lose your license if you commit any one violation that is worth 4 or more points.

In GA, driving offenses considered more serious carry 4 or more points each. These include driving over the speed limit by more than 24 miles per hour, reckless driving, aggressive driving, passing improperly on a hill or a curve, and passing a school bus unlawfully. Most other violations are worth less than 4 points each. Note that a DUI does not carry any points, as it is considered more serious than a traditional traffic offense and is enough, on its own, to cause your license to be suspended.

There are a few more violations that will cause an automatic license suspension. If you commit a homicide or felony using your vehicle, or try to flee or elude an officer in your vehicle, you will no longer be able to drive in the state. In addition, if you commit a hit-and-run or are guilty of leaving the scene of an accident, officers will suspend your license when they find you. Finally, racing on any traditional roadways or applying for a license fraudulently will cause you to lose your license in GA.

Suspended License Laws

If your driver's license is suspended in Georgia, you will face penalties if caught driving in the state. At the minimum, for a first-time violation, you will have to spend 2 days in jail and pay a fine of at least $500. In addition, you will probably have another 6-month suspension tacked on to your current driving ban. This will not just be more months on the same ban, though, so you will have to pay twice for license reinstatement fees and defensive driving courses.

If you are caught driving with a suspended license more than once, you will face a minimum of 10 days in jail and a fine between $1000 and $2500 dollars. In this case, you will definitely have an additional suspension tacked on top of your first one. Anytime you are charged with driving on a suspended license, you will probably want to contact an attorney. There is enough at stake that the fees and hassle are worth it, particularly if the attorney can reduce the penalties you face.

Note that any driving suspension starts as soon as you are convicted of the offense that requires the suspension. You should receive written notice of the suspension, along with a request to turn in your license. Since you will not get credit towards your suspension until you do this, you should, in such cases, make an effort to turn in your license as soon as possible. Keeping it longer will not save you from the suspension, as any officer who pulls you over will take your license and simply charge you with driving on a suspended license.

While there are certainly other traffic laws in Georgia that are not mentioned here, these are some of the most important things to know about the regulations that govern safe driving in the state. Now that you've studied some of Georgia's more important driving laws, you'll be able to follow them when you're there, whether it's your home or you are just visiting. In addition, you'll be able to keep your auto insurance rates down because you won't be adding tickets to your driving record. As a safe driver, you might even qualify for an automobile insurance discount.




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