When you are young, there are quite a few milestones to be excited for. Some of the most memorable are getting your license, buying your first car and going to traffic court for the first time. Unfortunately for a lot of us, the three tend to follow each other in fairly short order.
Most traffic violations are considered to be misdemeanors that are less serious crimes than felonies. If you get cited for a traffic violation in Georgia, then you will most likely have to visit a state court, magistrate court, probate court, or municipal court unless you are under 16. Then you will be considered a juvenile and have to go to juvenile court.
What to expect in Georgia Juvenile Traffic Court
In many ways, a juvenile court will proceed just like an adult court but the sentencing is different. For instance:
- The driver, their parents, and their witnesses, are allowed to be present.
- The police officer can be present to give evidence about the incident.
- The driver or their attorney may cross-examine any witnesses.
If a juvenile is found guilty of a misdemeanor traffic offense, then they can be penalized in multiple ways. For example, the penalty normally consists of a reprimand, the suspension of their driver's license, a fine, and possibly a requirement that they attend traffic school instead of the fine. If the offense is serious enough, it can be considered a delinquent act and the penalties would be much worse.
How you can lose your license in juvenile court:
It may seem like traffic court is no big deal, but it can have serious consequences. For instance, if you are a first-time offender you may not realize that the traffic court can suspend your license. It can happen if you:
- Are under the age of twenty-one and you get convicted of reckless driving
- Are convicted of driving without any insurance
- Convicted of a homicide while driving a car
- Apply for a driver's license using fraud
- Race on the highway
- Fail to follow through with court mandated child support
- Attempt to flee from a police officer in your car
- Commit a hit and run or if you leave the scene of an accident
- Don't pay for your gas on two or more occasions
- Fail to appear in traffic court on the appointed time and date for any offense other than a parking violation
- Refuse to take a blood, breath or chemical test to find out whether you have been drinking and driving
- Accumulate 15 points or more on your license in under twenty-four months
What are license points and why are they important?
When you commit a traffic violation, you will get points put on your driving record. These points can affect things like when you lose your license and how much you will have to pay for car insurance.
The penalties for having points on your license are severe for juveniles. For instance, if you are under 21 you can get your license suspended for any offense that results in 4 or more points. However if, you are under 18, you can have your license suspended if you accumulate 4 points during any 12-month period.
Each traffic offense is worth a set amount of points:
- 2 points – Having an open container while driving
- 3 points – Any other moving violation not on this list
- 3 points- Failure to obey a traffic officer or traffic control device
- 4 points – Improper passing on a curve or hill
- 4 points – Reckless driving
- 6 points – The unlawful passing of a school bus
- 2 points – Driving more than 14mph but less than 19mph over the speed limit
- 3 points – Driving more than 19mph but less than 24mph over the speed limit
- 4 points – Driving more than 24mph but less than 34mph over the speed limit
- 6 points – Driving 34mph or more over the speed limit
Hopefully this guide gives you a little more insight to traffic laws for juveniles in the state of Georgia. If your teen is facing traffic court, or serious juvenile offenses our attorneys at Don Turner Legal Team can help. We have years of experiance fighting for juvenile offenders. Give us a call, or contact us online today for more information or to schedule an appointment.