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 Traffic Violations

Traffic Violation

Traffic violations include a number of motor vehicle infractions such as speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, reckless driving, driving without a license or on a suspended license, and driving without insurance among several others. In most instances the punishment for such violations consists of a fine. While is it a common belief that someone accused of a traffic violation should simply pay the ticket, there are reasons to talk to an attorney first. First, a traffic violation is a crime and paying the fine is in a sense a guilty plea. Second, there are repercussions beyond a simple fine. Under Georgia's point system, a traffic violation could result in a license suspension and will likely result in higher insurance costs. Third, an attorney can advise you of your rights and peruse all options available in the event that your rights are violated.

 

 DUI

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DUI, or driving while intoxicated, is a type of traffic violation that can have serious consequences. When a person operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08, that person is presumed to be intoxicated. However, if an officer observes other physical indicators of intoxication the accused need only have a BAC of .05 to commit a DUI offense.

 

When a driver is stopped by a police officer and he or she suspects intoxication, the officer will take specific actions to attempt to determine if intoxication is sufficient to be a DUI offense. The officer will usually question the driver and administer field sobriety tests. While the driver should never be abrasive to the officer, it is important to remember that the driver, like any other suspect, has the right to remain silent and not make incriminating remarks. The officer may also conduct a breathalyzer test. While the driver may refuse to take the breathalyzer, there are serious consequences for this choice including an administrative license suspension for a year and denial of a work permit.

 

If the driver's license is suspended, he or she can appeal the suspension so long as he or she does so within ten days. Separate of the administrative appeal process, the state will also pursue criminal DUI charges against the driver. Consequences of a conviction can vary depending on whether the accused has prior convictions, but may include license suspension, fines, jail time, probation, community service, and mandatory driving classes.

 

 Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are those crimes that are punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment in jail for no longer than twelve months and may include suspension of driver’s license or professional license, community service, and probation.  Misdemeanors include offense such as petty theft, trespassing, vandalism, simple assault, disorderly conduct, prostitution, and some drug offense.  While misdemeanors are relatively minor compared to felonies, it is still important to consult an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and that all legal recourses are pursued.

 

 Felonies

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A felony is the most serious type of criminal charge. Consequences for a felony conviction can include prolonged incarceration in a state or federal prison and large fines. The accused will also lose the ability to vote and own a handgun and his or her ability to find employment, pursue higher education, or obtain a loan or mortgage will be severely affected. Felonies can consist of state or federal charges. Examples of felonies are: murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, kidnapping, embezzlement, forgery, some drug crimes, rape, and other sex crimes.

 

It is extremely important that the accused seeks an attorney as soon as possible. Felonies often involve complicated legal matters pertaining to motions, admissibility of evidence, eye-witnesses, experts, and sentencing. Not only can an attorney guide you through the complicated process and vigorously fight to protect your rights and freedoms, but in the event of a conviction he or she can also take actions that will increase the possibility of a successful appeal.

 

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