If you drive, odds are you have gotten a speeding ticket. Your insurance is already super expensive, you don't want any points on your license, but you don't know who to ask or what to do. And what the heck does pleading nolo even mean and does it help?!?
So, let's break it down for you:
Essentially, there are three elements to every speeding citation: 1) the criminal infraction (and fine), 2) points assessed to your driver's license by the department of driver services, and 3) your insurance premium.
In the state of Georgia, if you're clocked going over 14 mph over the speed limit and you choose to pay your ticket (thereby pleading guilty), the department of driver services will assess points to your driver's license. When this goes on your record, your insurance will probably increase, and who wants to pay more for car insurance?
So, what do you do? Breathe a little, then take a defensive driving class. Why? In the State of Georgia, drivers who meet certain requirements shall receive a discount of no less than 10% off of their insurance premiums (check with your insurance agent). Better yet, a certificate of completing a defensive driving course will serve as great leverage when negotiating with the prosecutor to reduce the speed at which you were clocked. You may be able to get the speed reduced to a no-point violation (anything under 15 mph over the speed limit), which will then NOT be reported to the department of driver services and your insurance will NOT know about it! You're still pleading guilty to speeding, but not to the original speed. This is what makes the difference.
Now, this will require going to court, waiting in line to speak with the prosecutor, and then put forward your best negotiating skills. So, it's always best to hire an attorney to do the talking for you. Whatever you do, do not miss your court date!
What if you can't do the defensive driving course for one reason or another, then what's the best option? If you cannot get the prosecutor to lower your speed to a non-reporting offense, then you may want to plead nolo. This will save you from getting points on your license, but you can only use this once every five years- and insurance will know about it. This is why this option is a far-away second.
Not all speeding citations are created equal. Speeding 15-18 mph over the speed limit yields a 2 point violation; 19-23 mph over is a 3 point violation, 24-33 mph is 4 points, and 34 or more is a 6 point violation! It's also important to note that if you're under 21 years of age, there is a much greater danger of losing your driver's license! Oh, and watch out for the super-speeder law. If you plead guilty to travelling 85 mph or over on any road in the state of Georgia or 75 mph or over on any two lane road, you will have an additional $200 fine tacked on.
It's always best to retain an attorney to guide you through murkly legal waters and ultimately obtain the best possible result. Most of the time, hiring an attorney will actually save you money. For more legal tips, like us on facebook.com/theawadlawfirm and following on twitter @theawadlawfirm.