Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Super Speeder Law

A lot has been made of Georgia’s new Super Speeder law, but there is still a lot of confusion about what exactly the law entails and how it is enforced. The Super Speeder law came about as part of House Bill 160 and has been codified as O.C.G.A. 40-6-189. The law took effect on January 1, 2010. According to the new law anyone who is going faster than 75 miles per hour on a two lane highway is a Super Speeder. Further, anyone travelling faster than 85 miles per hour on ANY road in Georgia is a Super Speeder. This includes all Interstate Highways in the State of Georgia. What this means is that person travelling 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on a 70 mile per hour speed limit interstate will be subject to the new law and have to pay the fines associated with it.  
A two lane highway is exactly what it sounds like. It is a road that has only two lanes of traffic. These are what are often considered “back roads”, surface streets, and country roads. Any road that has only two lanes of travel (one in each direction) is a two lane road.
The Super Speeder law applies to all tickets received on or after January 1, 2010. Just because you received a ticket in 2009, but it is not disposed of until 2010 does not mean you are now subject to the Super Speeder law.
So how is the law enforced?
The Super Speeder law adds an automatic fee of $200.00 to any ticket where the driver was travelling in excess of the speeds listed above. This fee is in addition to any fine imposed on the actual speeding offense. It does not replace the fine you would have received, it adds to the fine you would already be paying. Further, failure to pay the additional two hundred dollar assessment within 90 days of it being assessed will result in the suspension of the driver’s license of the person failing to pay. Not only will the person’s driver’s license be suspended, but they will also still have to pay the $200.00 fine, plus an additional $50.00 fee to have their license reinstated. Many people are unaware that driving with a suspended license in Georgia is an offense that will result in arrest and jail time, so avoiding a super speeder suspension is advised at all costs.
There is some hope if you are stopped and given a ticket as a super speeder. First, do not just pay the ticket and hope it will go away. By paying a ticket you are admitting the guilt of the act contained in the citation, and the Super Speeder fine is not assessed until the Department of Driver Services receives notice that a qualifying citation has resulted in a conviction. Paying a ticket outright is the same as a conviction for the offense under the Super Speeder law.
 Also, a plea of Nolo Contendere will not save a driver form a Super Speeder fine. While a “nolo” plea will save the points on a person’s license, it is still considered a conviction under the Super Speeder law and will result in the $200.00 fee being assessed.
However, the law does impose some new standards on police officers issuing citations. The law requires an officer to note on the citation the speed the person was traveling, the speed limit on that road, AND whether or not the road was a two lane highway. It is unclear whether failure to include these required items will result in the citation being dismissed, but it is an argument that Attorney’s are prepared to make to get these citations dismissed and help clients avoid these costly fines.
Finally, many people wonder where the money from these fines is being utilized. The state is using the fees collected to help fund trauma centers in Georgia. Sixty percent of all trauma victims in Georgia are the result of car accidents, and the State hopes to offset trauma center costs by the fees they collect from super speeders. 

1 comment:

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