Georgia’s Super Speeder Law

Georgia’s Super Speeder Law

Imagine you are driving your regular business route from Alabama to South Carolina.  It’s a beautiful day as you travel along I-75 through Atlanta, Georgia. As you sing along to songs from the radio, traffic is light and you are making excellent time for a mid-Monday morning trip.  Suddenly you see blue lights in your rear view mirror and look down to see that you are going nearly 90 miles per hour.  You panic as you pull over to the side of the road knowing this is going to be hard to explain to your boss.  You are in your company truck,  on company time, on a business trip.  Your troubles are just beginning as you learn that your ticket is going to be extra costly due to Georgia’s Super Speeder Law.

What is Georgia’s Super Speeder Law?

HB160 became known as the Super Speeder Law aimed to slow down drivers in Georgia.  The law provides a $200 additional fine for anyone who is convicted of driving over 85 miles per hour on any road or highway or 75 miles per hour on any two lane road or highway.  Here’s how it works,

  • You receive a ticket for going 85 on a highway.
  • You are convicted upon your payment of the speeding ticket because you are pleading guilty to the charge.
  • After you pay, you are sent a bill for an additional $200 because you are then designated as a Super Speeder.
  • You have 120 days to pay this.
  • Failure to pay the fine can result in suspension of your license.

Is Super Speeder a Felony?

A Super Speeder ticket is a misdemeanor. Super Speeder is simply a designation the State of Georgia gives certain speeding offenses. It is an additional financial penalty levied by the state. Although it is only another financial penalty, it should be taken seriously since it can lead to a lose of license if not handled correctly.

How Many Points Can You Get On Your License For a Super Speeder?

The Georgia point system is the same for all speeding convictions—super speeder or not. If you get 15 points in 24 months, your license will be suspended. Each offense carries a penalty between two to six points according to the breakdown provided by Georgia Department of Driver Services .

Speeding:
15 to 18 mph over speed limit 2 Points
19 to 23 mph over speed limit 3 Points
24 to 33 mph over speed limit 4 Points
34 mph or more over speed limit 6 Points

It should be noted that each state handles the license point system differently.  However most states do recognize out of state tickets and will assign some points on the driving record for violations that result in convictions.

Fighting The Ticket / Saving Your License

Do not just pay the ticket.  It’s important that you speak to an attorney first.  Learn your options.  Paying that ticket means admitting guilt.  An attorney may be able to negotiate the ticket before you pay it so that it will no longer meets the requirements of a Super Speeder.

Contact Us for Solutions

David Crawford knows how speeding tickets can affect your life and your livelihood.  Before you act, contact David to find out your legal options.  Contact us today by completing our online form.

Hands Free Driving Law

Hands Free Driving Law

It’s hard to think back to a time when we did not have a phone in our cars and trucks.  We have become so accustomed to being available 24 hours of the day to family, friends, work and social media.  However, an alarming statistic showed that most accidents were the cause of distracted driving.  After one metro Atlanta city rolled out their own hands free law, many cities followed.  It wasn’t long before the State of Georgia wrapped up its work on the Hands Free Georgia Act.

Hands Free Georgia Law

The Hands Free Georgia Law has been in the making for quite some time.  The purpose behind this law is to curb distracted driving and ultimately reduce the number of traffic fatalities on Georgia’s highways caused by drivers playing with their cell phones, answering texts, making calls or reading Facebook.

Between 2016-2020 there were nearly 55,000 confirmed distracted driving accidents, resulting in 126 fatalities.  There were nearly 1 million accidents that are suspected to be the result of distracted driving in those same years and almost 2500 of those were fatal.  It was obvious to lawmakers that something should be done with cities responded to public outcry.   In response, many cities around Georgia began to enact their own ordinances which prevented the use of electronic devices while behind the wheel.  Rather than have a variety of confusing laws throughout the State, Georgia enacted the Hands Free Act.

The Act provides that drivers no longer be “behind the wheel” while holding a phone or other wireless electronic device, unless making an emergency call.  The following are prohibited actions as listed on Governors Office of Highway Safety

  • A driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone.  Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphone, phone is connected to vehicle or an electronic watch.  GPS navigation devices are allowed.
  • Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes and not for listening to music or other entertainment.
  • A driver may not send or read any text-based communication unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts message to a written text or is being used for navigation or GPS
  • A driver may not write, send or read any text messages, e-mails, social media or internet data content
  • A driver may not watch a video unless it is for navigation.
  • A driver may not record a video (continuously running dash cams are exempt)
  • Music streaming apps can be used provided the driver activates and programs them when they are parked.  Drivers cannot touch their phones to do anything to their music apps when they are on the road.  Music streaming apps that include video also are not allowed since drivers cannot watch videos when on the road.  Drivers can listen to and program music streaming apps that are connected to and controlled through their vehicle’s radio.

There are exceptions and exemptions for emergencies situations and for emergency personnel. They are as follows:

1.    Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.
2.    An employee or contractor of an utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to an utility
emergency.
3.     A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties.
4.     When in a lawfully parked vehicle—this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.

What Does This Mean For You As a Driver

It means that all drivers must comply with this law unless you are one of the exceptions noted above.   Officers have an option to issue warnings, however, they also have the ability to ticket under this law as well. As a driver, you may be ticketed for this infraction whether or not you are stopped for another offense or in an accident.

If you receive a ticket for this offense alone, the fines are as follows:

  • First conviction: $50, one point on a license;
  • Second conviction: $100, two points on a license;
  • Third and subsequent convictions: $150, three points on a license.

What Should You Do?

Having points added to your license can be a big deal. Points can lead to a suspended license. Not only that, but points can create increases in your Georgia auto insurance and cancellation of your policy if you have enough. If you are ticketed for more than one traffic violation at a time, these can add up quickly.

The Bottom Line

Research shows a link between distracted driving related to hand held phones and accidents.  According to the CDC, “Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph.” (See https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html) This raises insurance, causes arrests and kills people.  The reality is this: with so many new options in technology, there are ways to use the phone without holding it, if you must absolutely use the phone.

Bluetooth

Many cars have a method to connect phones directly through the speaker system.  If you have never used it and your car or truck is 2004 or newer, you may have the ability.  Research it, have a friend show you or take it to a car shop.  Once you learn how to connect it, it’s very simple to use.

Hands Free Mode

Most phones have an In Car or Hands Free Mode.  This allows you to touch one button and everything goes to voice activated.  It’s very simple to use.  Depending on your model of phone, you can provide verbal commands such as “call David Crawford” and it will dial his office provided you have that number in your phone.

Wait

If you are about to engage in a heated discussion, it is best to wait until you are not driving.  Even with a hands free device, distracted driving can be caused by anything that takes your focus off of the road.  If you have a conversation with a person who owes you money, for example, but is refusing to pay you, you may become upset enough that it affects your driving.  It only takes a second for an accident to happen.

Contact Us

The Hands Free Georgia Law is in effect now and has been since July of 2018.  If you have been arrested or need representation for a traffic ticket, please contact our office.  David Crawford has the experience you need to help you.  He will take the time to understand your concerns and help protect your record.

Contact David Today

Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer (rather than represent yourself)

Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer (rather than represent yourself)

Lawyers are often asked about whether someone should represent themselves.  This type of question comes up at parties, reunions and even family dinners.  It goes something like this:  “I have a friend (it’s ALWAYS a friend), who was arrested, given a ticket, is being sued, or wants to sue someone.”  The person then provides an abbreviated version of the facts followed by “This shouldn’t be too tough of a case, right?  Couldn’t she represent herself in Court?”  Depending on the nature of the case, it’s probably not going to be a good idea to represent yourself.  Although there are a number of reasons to hire an lawyer, here are ten reasons to hire a lawyer rather than represent yourself.

  • A lawyer is educated in the law.  Lawyers spend 3 years dedicated to studying law, how to apply the law, adhering to legal procedures and learning the language of a lawyer.  Laws are complex and often misinterpreted by those who are not trained.  In fact, most lawyers who have been practicing a few years, have “court” experience as well as general legal knowledge.
  • It may be more complicated than you think.   Sometimes a case is more complex than it appears.  Do you know where to file your case? How about where you would file an answer to a complaint? Suppose you want to sue someone for a civil matter, do you know the time constraints on filing that type of case? Lawyers know how to determine all of this.  It will save you precious time and money from learning what they already know or can fine out quickly.
  • Not hiring an attorney can actually cost you more.  This is very often the case.  Think about what’s at stake in the situation.  Hefty fines, loss of a job, jail time?  There may be more at stake if you lose without the assistance of an attorney.  Courts will treat you as if you have a knowledge of the law upon representing yourself.  In other words, there is no special treatment.

 

  • A lawyer knows the court etiquette.  An attorney knows what to address and when to address it in Court.  This is extremely important and can be overlooked when trying to save money.  A detailed understanding of how evidence works and the rules of evidence is critical to a case.  An understanding of when to address the Court or how to address the Court is also key.

 

  • There are a lot of deadlines.  Those in the legal profession understand the deadlines for filing motions, appealing Court orders, serving opposing parties, etc.  One missed deadline can be fatal to your case before it ever makes it to Court.

 

  • It may be time to plea or settle.  An experienced attorney can communicate with the opposing party and determine the weight of the evidence that will be presented against you.  Depending on your specific circumstances, a plea agreement may be the best option for you.  To know when it’s time to plead, you need to know the strength of the other side as well as your own.  This is one of the things that is learned by years of practicing law because there is no formula for this.

 

  • It may be worth the fight.  Just as an attorney may advise you to accept a plea agreement, it may also be in your best interest to fight the charge.  Again, an attorney knows how to weigh the evidence, argue in Court to have certain things suppressed (thrown out) and when it’s best to fight.  Not every case is worthy of a plea agreement and not every case should go to Court.

 

  • You don’t know any expert witnesses or private investigators. Lawyers know how and when to bring in the experts.  Whether it’s someone specializing in accident reconstruction, medical injuries, or investigations, lawyers have a network and an experienced attorney knows WHO and WHEN to bring someone in for the case.

 

  • The other party has legal representation.  Non-lawyers are often at a disadvantage when the other side has an attorney.  As stated above, lawyers know the rules of the Court.  If the other party has an attorney and you are trying to do this yourself, you may miss deadlines, make the wrong argument or miss an opportunity for a settlement in your favor.

 

  • You are worth it and we know that.  Regardless of whether you are fighting a case against you or looking to initiate a lawsuit, you should have good representation.  Attorney David Crawford has the experience, the compassion and the legal training to provide you with the options you need.  David, and his team, will review the facts of your situation so that he has a complete understanding.   After all, aren’t you worth it?

 

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, sued by another party or wants to pursue a case against someone else, contact us.  Attorney David Crawford has the experience and knows exactly where to start.  If the initial facts warrant further legal investigation, David and his team will gather information necessary so that he has a complete understanding of your case.  Contact Us Today to get started.

Tips for Attending Court

Tips for Attending Court

If you have never been to court before, you may no idea on how you should conduct yourself or how to dress.  Here are some helpful tips for attending court .

Location Matters

Every court room is different.  Judges have personalities too, and they have their own way of running a court room.  Some judges are very quick and curt.  Others want to hear more details about the your legal situation.  Either way, having a lawyer that knows the courts will help you.

Dress Matters

Judges demand respect in their courtrooms.  Dress appropriately – it is not necessary to wear a suit, however you should wear something that you may wear to a job interview, religious service or business gathering.  Be clean and comfortable.

Conduct

Address the Court properly.  If you speak to the Court (Judge), speak clearly, use words rather than gestures and speak in a normal volume.  Refer to your Judge as “Your Honor”. Never argue with the opposing party when appearing before the Judge.  Direct all of your comments and responses to the Judge.

Family

Leave your children home.  Regardless of which Court you attend, children do not belong there.  Subject matter in Court may not be appropriate for them.  You never know what is on the Court calendar for that day so plan accordingly and have someone keep your children while you are gone.

Attendance Matters

Being on time is critical.  Check in where directed.  Stand when the Judge enters and exits the room.  Do not talk, use your phone or sleep while court is in session.  Food and drinks should never be taken into the courtroom, even if you plan to be there for a full day.

Other Etiquette

While it may be tempting to speak to others during your time in the courtroom, do not do so.  The whispering is not only distracting to those around you but it is disrespectful to those speaking in front of the Court.

Attending court can be scary.  You may feel anxious, nervous or even unprepared.  These tips for attending court will help remove some of that anxiety.  If you are still concerned, hiring an attorney can lessen many of these concerns.  Your lawyer will speak for you in most instances, can help you with your decisions and will be with you each and every step of the way.  If you are required to appear in court for a civil or criminal offense, (even a traffic offense), David Crawford can help.  Contact our office today.  Contact Us

Hiring An Attorney Can Save You Money

Hiring An Attorney Can Save You Money

If you are facing criminal charges, you may think hiring an attorney is a waste of money.  You may be concerned that it will just cost too much.  In fact, even if you plan to plead “guilty” for your charges, having your own attorney is critical. For one thing, pleading guilty may not be your best option. Without having a lawyer, you may believe that pleading guilty is your only choice when it isn’t. Hiring an attorney can save you money, rather than costing you more.

Let’s imagine you were arrested for public intoxication at a party where there were minors and charged with contributing to a minor.  Even if you were drinking at the party where there were underage drinkers, you may not need to plead guilty to that specific charge.  Much of this will depend on the evidence and the expertise of your lawyer.  A good defense lawyer can gather the information, review your options and help you make the correct decision.  Hiring an attorney can save you money, possible jail time and hopefully save your record.

You may also think that you do not need a lawyer for traffic tickets or a DUI.  However, even traffic citations have potential serious consequences.  You can have hefty fines, have points added to your driving record, or even lose your privilege to drive.  The best way to prevent this is to work with an attorney immediately.

For the best outcome, turn for legal help from the Law Offices of David Crawford. Attorney David Crawford is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully helped many clients with reduced charges, parole or probation instead of jail time, reduced prison sentence and dismissal of charges.

Contact Us Today

 

Georgia Bail Bond Process

Georgia Bail Bond Process

Georgia Bail Bond Process

The bonding process in Georgia can be confusing.  The purpose of a “bond” is to provide a financial guarantee that you will return to court for all of your appearances until your case is completed or dismissed.  You, or a family member, pays the bail amount and if you do not show up for court, the court will keep the bail and issue a warrant for your arrest.

So, this is how it works.  You are arrested for shoplifting and booked into the jail.  When you place a call, you contact family who, in turn, contacts a bonding company.  After your first appearance in court, your bail will be set at a specific dollar amount so that your family member can work out the arrangement with the bond company for your release while you await your court date.  Many times, your case will be settled prior to that date but in the event that it is not, the bail allows you to stay out of jail during the time leading up to and during your time in court.

The purpose of a bail is not meant to be punitive.  It is actually so that you can remain free from jail during your case.  This allows you to actively participate in the defense of your case.  It also helps with  overcrowding in jails which is a major problem in Georgia and across the country.

How is the Bail Amount Determined?

Attorneys and courts often use the terms bail and bond interchangeably but there is a distinction.  The bail money is the amount of money you pay to the court  for the “guarantee” that you will return for your court date(s) until the case is concluded.  The bond is the pledge that a bondsman makes to pay on your behalf  in the event you do not pay.  Typically speaking, the bond is 10-15% of the bail amount.

The court has the full authority to set the bond amount.  Some jurisdictions have a bond schedule for specific crimes so you do not have to wait to appear before the judge but that is not done in all cases.  At any rate, it is only the judge that can set the bond.  The police, sheriff or any of the arresting officers have no part of this process.

The judge takes several factors into consideration when setting the bond.  First and foremost is the question of whether the defendant is likely to run and avoid trial.  To answer that he or she looks at the following:

  • What ties does the person have in the community?
  • Is there family here? What family?
  • How long has the person lived here?
  • What is the job status? How long has the person worked at the particular job?
  • What is the person’s criminal history? are the crimes escalating?
  • Is this current crime a violent crime?
  • Seriousness of the crime
  • Ability to pay
  • Public Safety
  • Defendants propensity to harm someone
  • Is this crime even eligible for bond? (some crimes are not eligible by statute)

Types of Bail Bonds

There are 4 types of bail bonds that can be utilized to secure your release from jail in Georgia.

Cash Bond –  allows you to pay the entire balance.  The benefit of this is that at the conclusion of the case, having been to all court proceedings, you get all of your money back, regardless of the outcome.  Most bonds companies do not take cards or checks…cash means cash.

Property Bond –  allows you or someone else to present a warranty deed, current tax statement or other proof of ownership on property with the appropriate value to secure your release.  The downfall is that if you miss your court date, the house or property is gone.

Own Recognizance– this option is where the judge allows you to sign a form stating that you will come to court.  The judge basically takes you at your word.  This is mostly used in small misdemeanor cases.  You won’t see this in violent crimes and usually not in felonies.

Bondsman – When there are no other options, a professional bondsman can be contacted to post the bond.  They usually charge anywhere between 12-15% which is non-refundable.  This charge is their fee because they are taking a personal risk in the event you do not show up for court.

Contact Us Now If Your Family Member Is Incarcerated

If you, or a loved one, finds yourself in a situation involving traffic tickets, a DUI, driving without insurance or other criminal matters, contact our office.  David Crawford has the knowledge, experience and compassion to help see that your rights are protected.  There is no reason to skip out on your bail.  Attorney David Crawford’s will fight for your rights.