If you are not sure about the status of your Georgia license, contact the Department of Driver Services at (678) 413-8500 or (866) 754-3687 (outside Metro Atlanta) or visit the DDS website at www.dds.ga.gov .
If you plead guilty to a super speeder ticket, or if you are found guilty after trial you will pay a fine to the court. A few days later you will receive a notice from DDS advising you that you owe $200.00 and that failure to pay within 90 days will result in your license being suspended.
Entering a plea of nolo contendere or a zero points order in the court will not avoid the imposition of the super speeder fee.
Passing a school bus is one of the more serious traffic tickets you can receive. The consequences can be serious, and both the prosecutor and judge are unlikely to unilaterally offer a reduced charge.
Instead, you may be offered a higher fine, or stiffer sentence than you would have expected. Keep in mind that the normal maximum and minimum sentencing still applies, but the maximum penalty is quite significant — 12 months in jail and $1000.00 fine. This is not to say that you should expect a lengthy jail sentence under normal circumstances.
However, you should anticipate the possibility of probation. Many judges and prosecutors will argue that probation should be imposed to be sure that you maintain a clean driving record for 12 months after your conviction. They could require that you submit a copy of your driving record to probation every month for an entire year.
They may also want you to enroll in one or more driving instructional couses, such as Alive @ 25, Victim Impact Panel, Risk Reduction, and/or Defensive Driving.
A conviction for passing a school bus will result in 6-points on your license. If you are under 21 this will suspend your license. If you are over 21, but you have 9 or more points on your driving history, then this will also suspend your Georgia license.
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Even if you have a clean driving history you can expect a weighty penalty. This is because, in part, it is one of the handful of charges that evokes an emotional response from prosecutors and judges as it is a law that is specifically designed to protect the most vulnerable members of our society — children. As a result, it is important that you at least consult with an attorney before going to court on this type of ticket. If you are not familiar with your court’s practices, you could be exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.
Similarly, “move over” law and child endangerment tickets may result in particularly stiff sentences.
Even if you are not sure if you want a lawyer’s assistance, you should consult with a lawyer so that you know your options and fully understand the potential consequences of this type of conviction. A lawyer may be able to help you mitigate some of the more serious consequences of a conviction for passing a school bus. A lawyer may be able to recognize legal arguments that could result in the charge being dismissed entirely, or simply help you strategize a plan for presenting persuasive mitigating information to the Court that could result in a reduction of the charge or sentence.
If you are concerned about legal fees, you may want to consult the public defender in your court in advance of your scheduled court date. In the alternative, you may want to go to court initially and find out what resolution the prosecutor is recommending. At that point, if you are unsure of your options, you can ask the court for a brief reset to allow you time to consult a private attorney. If this is your first court date, most courts will grant your request for more time.
Mandatory Suspensions for Drivers Under 21 Years of Age
The offenses covered in this section have a different effect when committed by those defendants who are under 21 years of age at the time of conviction. These offenses are:
- Hit and run or Leaving the scene of an accident, O.C.G.A. §40-6-270
- Racing on highways or streets, O.C.G.A. §40-6-186 „
- Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, O.C.G.A. §40-6-395
- Reckless driving, O.C.G.A. §40-6-390
Any offense for which four or more points are assessable under O.C.G.A. §40-5-57(c), which includes:
- Improper passing on a hill or a curve, O.C.G.A. §40-6-45(a)(1)
- Unlawful passing of a school bus, O.C.G.A. §40-6-163
- Exceeding the speed limit by 24 mph or more, O.C.G.A. §40-6-181
- Aggressive driving, O.C.G.A. §40-6-397
- Purchasing an alcoholic beverage, O.C.G.A. §3-3-23 (a) (2)
- Misrepresenting age for purpose of illegally obtaining any alcoholic beverage, O.C.G.A. §3-3-23 (a) (3)
- Misrepresenting identity or using false identification for purpose of purchasing or obtaining any alcoholic beverage, O.C.G.A. §3-3-23 (a) (5)
- Driving Under the Influence, O.C.G.A. §40-6-391
- Accumulation of 4 or more points in any 12 month period by a person under the age of 18
- Possession of alcoholic beverages while operating a motor vehicle, O.C.G.A. § 3-3-23(a)(2)
Note: Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 40-5-57.1(d), a suspension shall be imposed based on the person’s age on the date of the conviction giving rise to the suspension.
Talk to an attorney today to discuss whether you may be able to avoid a suspension of your license!