What are points on my license? How many points is a speeding ticket? When do my points fall off? Most people know that getting a traffic ticket is a bad thing. Some even know that moving violations carry “points” toward your license. However, very few people actually know how Georgia’s point system works. We are here to ease that confusion. If you want to see past some of the mystery of Georgia traffic tickets, keep reading. On the other hand, if you need help dealing with a ticket now, call us at (678) 753-4529 and we will deal with it for you. Rely on our years of training so you can focus on what’s important in your life.
What Are Points?
Georgia’s Point System is essentially a demerit system. You receive points for committing bad acts. In this case, those acts are violations of Georgia’s traffic laws. If you receive enough points, you are punished. Georgia’s Department of Driver Services (DDS) is responsible for monitoring and carrying out the point system. Courts only deal with the violation and sentence. Once they enter a disposition, DDS takes over. Points are not added until your case is closed with the courts. That is why you need to hire an attorney before you pay the ticket.
While you can be ticketed for many different violations under Title 40 of Georgia’s Official Code, only those violations under Chapter 6 carry points. Specifically, you can only get points for moving violations. You DO NOT get points for equipment violations, parking tickets, or even DUIs. Furthermore, not every offense under Chapter 6 carries points. More on that below.
What Are the Consequences of Georgia’s Point System?
In most cases, the points alone will not do anything. There will be other consequences, but those are not because of the points. For drivers over the age of 18, there are no consequences from points unless you get 15 points in a two-year period. For drivers under 18, you are allowed 4 points in a year. This effectively means that for points purposes, those points fall off after two years. However, the violations still remain on your driving history. Points are calculated from the dates of arrest/citation for this purpose.
If you do accumulate 15 points in two years (or four points in a year for drivers under 18), DDS will suspend your license. If this is your first “points suspension” within five years, your license will be suspended for a year. Second and subsequent violations within five years carry longer and harsher suspensions. Drivers can terminate their first and second-time point suspensions early by taking a class and paying a fine. Remember, driver’s licenses that have been suspended for any reason are never automatically reinstated. Check your license status to verify your license is not suspended.
Nolo Pleas and Why They Don’t Help
You may have heard that you can use a “no contest” plea (also called “nolo contedere” or just “nolo” plea) to avoid points. This is true to an extent. You can use a nolo plea to avoid points, but it only works once every five years. Note that this will not stop a suspension for a driver under 21 years old. It also does NOT stop the ticket from appearing on your driving history. That means that your insurance company will still find out about it. Unless you are facing a point suspension, a nolo plea will not give you much benefit at all. You need a reduced charge. A lawyer can look at your ticket and decide what the best outcome is for you. More than likely, it is NOT a nolo plea.
How Many Points Is My Ticket?
DDS assigns different amounts of point depending on the type of ticket involved. Tickets range from one to six points each. The list below is based off the 2017 Georgia Code:
Aggressive driving (6 points)
Reckless driving (4 points)
Unlawful passing of a school bus (6 points)
Improper passing on a hill or a curve (4 points)
- 14-18 mph over the limit (2 points)
- 19-23 mph over the limit (3 points)
- 24-33 mph over the limit (4 points)
- 34 mph or more over the limit (6 points)
Disobedience of any traffic-control device or traffic officer (3 points)
Too fast for conditions (0 points)
Possessing an open container of an alcoholic beverage while driving (2 points)
Failure to adequately secure a load, except fresh farm produce, resulting in loss of such load onto the roadway which results in an
accident (2 points)
Child safety restraint violation, first offense (1 point)
Child safety restraint violation, second or subsequent offense (2 points)
Violation of usage of wireless telecommunications device requirement (1 point)
Operating a vehicle while text messaging (1 point)
All other moving traffic violations which are not speed limit violations (3 points)
How Should I Handle My Ticket?
Every ticket is different, so there is no “one size fits all” answer. Given the complex rules laid out above and the additional rules not talked about in this article, talking to a lawyer should be your first move after getting a ticket. An experienced traffic lawyer can tell you exactly what effect your ticket will have and how you can avoid some or all of those consequences. We strongly suggest that you consult with a traffic attorney before entering a plea or simply paying your ticket. You have rights. Let us help you use them.