Fulton County Serious Injury by Vehicle

DUI and Reckless Driving charges are considered misdemeanors in Georgia. However, if you were arrested for DUI or Reckless Driving and there was an accident with serious injuries involved, it is likely you will be arrested for the felony offense of Serious Injury by Vehicle under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-394.

 

A Serious Injury by Vehicle case in Fulton County will be prosecuted by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.  It is a felony charge, and the Fulton District Attorney has four years from the date of arrest to bring formal charges against you. Once your case is indicted or accused within the statute of limitations, your first court date will be your Arraignment date. This takes place at the Fulton County Courthouse located at 185 Central Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303. At your arraignment date, you will have the opportunity to enter a Not Guilty plea and make a demand to see the evidence. It is imperative to have an attorney at this phase in the case because certain Constitutional motions must be filed within 10 days of this court date, or the issues are waived. This means that an attorney must file motions challenging the constitutionality of the stop and the arrest, within 10 days of the Arraignment date, or you will lose the ability to fight the case on these issues later on.

What’s the Difference Between a Misdemeanor DUI and a Serious Injury by Vehicle?

The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the punishment and the other collateral consequences. DUI and Reckless Driving are misdemeanor crimes, and thus carry a maximum punishment of 12 months in jail. On the other hand, Serious Injury by Vehicle is a felony charges which could result in much lengthier punishment as society views felonies, generally, more harshly. Specifically, for the felony charge of Serious Injury by Vehicle, the minimum punishment is 1 year in prison, while the maximum is 15 years. Certain factors like the blood alcohol content, or whether there was any prior convictions can elevate punishment significantly. Compare that to a Driving Under the Influence charge where the minimum punishment is just 24 hours along with conditions like community service and DUI school.

What about my License?

The Department of Driver Services also treats this crime harshly, and if you plea or are found guilty of Serious Injury by Vehicle in Fulton County or anywhere in the State, you are facing a driver’s license suspension for a period of three years in addition to the other requirements imposed by the Court.

The State does not have to prove you committed an unsafe act like speeding, cutting someone off, or hitting someone’s vehicle from the back. They can proceed only on the fact you were DUI and caused an injury under the statute, even if you were not the cause of the accident.

In order for the State to prove Serious Injury by Vehicle, they must prove the injuries were serious enough to fall under the statute. Courts have held broken bones, being unable to walk well for a period of time, and certainly brain damage, all to be sufficient for the state to proceed on felony charge.

Take the next step

If you or someone you know have been arrested for Serious Injury by Vehicle in Fulton County or the Atlanta area, it is imperative to meet with a law firm who has a high-level skill in DUI defense as well as in Serious Injury by Vehicle cases. Your future and your freedom depend on it. Call us today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

 

Alive at 25

As a minor or someone under 21, you are subject to greater penalties for getting moving violations. If you are between the ages of 15 and 24 and have received a speeding ticket, you may consider enrolling in a driver education course, such as Alive at 25.

Alive at 25 is a 4 hour driver’s awareness program, which is designed to educate young people on driving hazards and the importance of driver’s safety. Students gather in the classroom to learn about speeding, driving while impaired, and safe driving habits. Sometimes, if you are a young person who has gotten a speeding ticket or a super speeder, the Solicitor or the Court may require you to complete this class. Doing so soon after you get a ticket can help give you some leverage in negotiating a reduction or dismissal with the solicitor at your first Court date.

The course cost varies depending on your location, but it typically runs around $115. While this may seem like a hefty price tag for a 4 hour course, completion may help you get a reduction or dismissal in your criminal case, reducing the overall fine for the ticket, and it may reduce the cost of your monthly insurance payments. Note that this is not a “behind the wheel” course. Success only requires that you attend and participate. For more information about the Alive at 25 driver’s awareness program, visit https://www.atlantaga.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=1455 or call us at 404-581-0999. We have experienced attorneys eager to work with you to help you enroll in the course, attend court, and challenge your ticket.

Written by Attorney Katherine A. Edmonds

Traffic Tickets while Traveling through Atlanta, Georgia

by Ryan Walsh

We receive calls every day from people who receive traffic tickets while driving on the highways of Georgia. Due to traffic, congestion, construction, and rural police departments, out of state residents are targeted and ticketed every day.

These local courts think they can make money off of you since you live out of state. They think you will just pay the fine and move along. Sometimes the officer will even tell you that it is a non-points violation and can just be paid online when that isn’t actually the case.

Georgia is a points state, meaning every conviction for a moving violation involves points that may be added to your out of state license. Also, the conviction may be reported on your driving history and affect insurance rates.

Traffic tickets in Georgia involve more than just a payment of a fine. It is important to understand the risk of just paying the citation on your driving history. It may cost you a lot more than just the fine amount.

Common traffic tickets we see involving out of state drivers include move-over violations, super speeder tickets, hands-free device citations, and accident cases.

I work every day in the traffic courts around Georgia and can give you the best advice on how to approach your citation. Call us today at 404-581-0999 and ask for Ryan Walsh or e-mail me anytime at ryan@peachstatelawyer.com.

Atlanta Pre-Trial Intervention

The Municipal Court of Atlanta has a special program for minor traffic offenses and some accident cases that involves dismissing these cases without them going on your driving history, without any points going on your drivers license, and without you using your nolo contendere plea. It is called the pre-trial intervention program – traffic division, and you can use the program once a year in the Municipal Court of Atlanta for certain citations.

What qualifies?

Some offenses that qualify are:

  1. Speeding offenses UNDER 34 miles per hour
  2. Minor traffic accidents without any injuries
  3. Three point moving violations that do not involve accidents

Entry into the program is voluntary and involves the payment of a fee and potentially completing a driver improvement course or other requirements. You can choose not to handle your case through the PTI-T program and preserve your right to a jury trial in your case. 

Call us today!

Finally, we’d love to help you navigate your traffic citation in the Municipal Court of Atlanta. Call our office for a free in-depth consultation of all your options to resolve your citation. During that consultation we will explain to you the possible and likely outcomes and what we can do for you to save you time and money. Many traffic citations in Atlanta can be handled by us without you ever going to court. Call us today for a free consultation regarding your traffic ticket at 404-581-0999.

Georgia’s New Distracted Driving Law for Georgia Drivers

by Mary Agramonte

 

As you have probably heard, Georgia’s new law on Distracted Driving will become effective on July 1, 2018. Georgia’s legislature has made the use of a cell phone will driving illegal in response to an alarming rise of traffic fatalities and serious injuries from car accidents.

The new law will prohibit Georgia drivers from the following:

  • Holding a cell phone at all
  • Texting, reading/ sending emails, using internet
  • Watching or recording videos

The following use of electronic devices will still be allowed even under the new law:

  • Speaking/texting with voice based communication
  • Using an earpiece or Bluetooth to talk on the phone
  • Using a navigation or GPS app

The punishment under this new law will be fines, fees, and points. Specifically, for a first conviction in 24 months, you will face a fine of $50.00 which will not include any surcharges and taxes. A second conviction will increase to $100.00 plus court costs and surcharges.

While the cost is fairly slight for a traffic offense, there will be other repercussions of the law. If an officer sees you on the phone, he now has the ability to pull your vehicle over which in some cases could lead to more serious charges. For example, an officer who has lawfully pulled you over for using your phone can then observe an odor of alcohol coming from your vehicle which can then lead to a DUI arrest.

Overall, this bill is being enacted to save lives as talking and texting on a cell phone while driving places other drivers and pedestrians at risk. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Georgia will now join the other 47 states that have already enacted laws prohibited texting and driving.