John W. Rife
Attorney at Law
Dedication and Excellence

Traffic

Cobb County and Marietta Traffic Attorney

  TRAFFIC OFFENSES

Are you just going to pay your Cobb County Traffic Ticket? Do you know for sure that just paying your ticket wont affect your ability to drive?  Your Insurance rates? To be sure call a Marietta Traffic ticket attorney, John W. Rife to know for sure!

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE GEORGIA DRIVER'S LICENSE "POINT" SYSTEM

Georgia driver's license system works on a point system, and depending on your age, the points assessed in your type of case can have a great effect on the retention of your ability to drive. This is especially true of drivers under 21.

Points are important for drivers over 21 as well. Insurance companies check your driving record periodically. Some look for offenses and some only check for points. The more offenses or points, the more likely the driver will pay higher insurance rates or even have their coverage cancelled. For professional drivers, points can play a crucial role in obtaining or securing their livelihoods.

For a person under 18, an accumulation of 4 points in a 12-month period will cause the suspension of their driver's license for 6 months. For persons over 18, 15 points in a 24-month period can cause a suspension.

Single offenses that can cause a suspension for persons under 21:

  • suspension of license, point offenses
  • hit-and-run
  • attempting to elude an officer
  • public intoxication
  • leaving the scene of an accident
  • fleeing
  • aggressive driving
  • reckless driving
  • passing a school bus
  • passing on a hill or curve
  • speeding above 24 m.p.h.
  • speeding above 34 m.p.h.
  • DUI
  • any drug conviction

THE "TYPICAL" TRAFFIC COURT CASE

After issuance of the citation or ticket, a person has two options: the first is to plead guilty and send the fine (in some places you can do all this online,) the second is to appear at a proceeding called an arraignment.

Usually in the arraignment, the court will ask you how you wish to plea. The court typically allows you to enter guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendre ("nolo"). But you can also request a continuance to consult counsel, meet with the prosecutor (who represents the state) in a pretrial (discussion,) or request a jury trial. There are considerations, listed below, that you should consider before making the decision on what to do.

THE MISUNDERSTOOD "NOLO" PLEA

Most people have heard that if you plead "nolo," the offense will not go on your driving record. While it is true that the points will not go on your record (assuming you have not used a nolo plea in the last 5 years,) the offense itself will go on your record. If your insurance company just looks at points, then nolo works.

However, for most drivers under 21 (and especially under 18) a nolo plea WILL NOT save your license for most suspension offenses.

There may be other alternatives to entering a nolo plea. Some courts even refuse to accept nolo pleas. Some courts have other methods for resolving cases for first-offense drivers that will keep both the offense and points off your record.

REPRESENTING YOURSELF

It has been said that someone who represents himself has a "fool for a client." Georgia law allows you to represent yourself in any of its courts. However, almost all courts require you to waive your right to an attorney in writing. Most traffic courts have forms that allow you to do this.

For some people this alternative is fine. You save the expense of an attorney and can quickly dispose of your case. However, for many, it can be a mistake. If you request a pretrial of your case, anything YOU say to the solicitor or police officer CAN and WILL be used against you in court. The information relayed to the solicitor by your attorney, however, CANNOT be used against you if the case goes to court. Additionally, for some offenses and in some courts, the court will not allow you to plea guilty without a lawyer.

Most people do not understand their alternatives in traffic court or their rights. All traffic laws in Georgia are misdemeanors and carry a possible jail sentence of up to 1 year. Our constitution allows all persons charged with these offenses to have a jury trial if they desire. Most traffic courts do not have jury trial capabilities and the case is transferred to another court. Few defendant's understand what they give up by waiving their right to jury and by their desire "to get it over with" and either plead guilty or try the case before the judge. Sometimes a jury trial is the right alternative. At Rife Law Firm, we can assist you in understanding why a jury trial may be right for you.

The most common mistake in traffic court is people convicting themselves of traffic offenses because of their lack of knowledge of courtroom procedure or the laws of our state. The State has an extreme advantage over most people who represent themselves. The State has experienced lawyers who typically show no mercy for people who choose not to be represented. The police are also experienced in the methods of testifying and can be evasive on questioning by inexperienced people. While having a lawyer is no guarantee you will not be convicted or get a better outcome, you are at least maximizing your chances to do so.

We typically hear from people who are upset at being convicted and typically state that the judge would not let them speak and are now interested in getting a lawyer to retry the case. If you represent yourself, you are held to the same standards as a practicing attorney. If you do not know the rules, your chances of presenting your side to the court effectively against an experienced prosecutor are slim. Once convicted, there is little a lawyer can do to help you.

If you are representing yourself, a consultation can be an inexpensive method of understanding the law and maximizing your chances or success. We have reasonable rates for consultations and representation.

If you need assistance with a traffic law matter contact attorney John W. Rife.

Rife Law Firm
 Traffic Defense Law

Marietta office:
The Lawyers Building
166 Anderson Street, Suite 118
Marietta, GA 30060
Phone: (678)-331-3131

For a free phone consultation on a family or criminal matter or to speak with an experienced attorney, call or e-mail John W. Rife. 

Credit cards accepted • Free phone consultations • Payment plans available • Located less than 1 block from Marietta Square • Saturday appointments available

John W. Rife, Attorney at Law is located in Marietta, Georgia and assists clients in Cobb County, Acworth, Austell,Kennesaw, Powder Springs, and Smyrna GA.

The Lawyers Building
166 Anderson Street                              Suite 118
Marietta, GA 30060
Phone: (678)-331-3131
Fax: (678) 331-3132