Don’t plead guilty in traffic court without first understanding how your insurance rates will be be impacted.
Driving is an essential part of life for many people in Georgia, but it comes with certain responsibilities. One of these is obeying traffic laws and regulations, and unfortunately, many drivers find themselves facing charges for a variety of traffic offenses. If you are one of these people, you may be tempted to plead guilty to get the whole ordeal over with quickly. However, this may not be the best course of action, especially if you’re concerned about insurance costs.
As you may know, the state of Georgia operates on a point system for traffic violations and most citations are reported to DDS.ga.gov. Each time you are found guilty of a reportable traffic offense, a certain number of points is added to your driving record. The more points you accumulate, the greater the likelihood that your insurance premiums will increase. If you accumulate enough points, your insurance company may even refuse to insure you altogether. This is why it’s so important to invest whenever possible in maintaining a clean record.
For example, a single traffic ticket can increase your auto insurance premiums by an average of 22 percent, according to an analysis by Insurance.com. Reckless driving, DUI, driving without a license, and hit + run are among the most expensive offenses, with first-time offenders facing an average increase of 16 to 22 percent. Even less serious offenses like speeding can increase your insurance premiums by an average of 11 to 15 percent. These increases can last for several years, depending on your driving record and the insurance company’s policies.
By pleading guilty to a traffic offense, you are essentially admitting fault and allowing points to be added to your driving record. This can have a long-term impact on your insurance costs, which can end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time. In some cases, it may be possible to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether, which can help minimize the impact on your driving record and insurance premiums.
If you’re facing traffic charges in Georgia, it’s important to consult with legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced traffic attorney can review the details of your case and help you understand your options. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain or fight the charges in court. Even if you end up being found guilty, an attorney may be able to help you minimize the impact on your driving record and insurance costs.
In addition to legal counsel, there are other steps you can take to minimize the impact of traffic offenses on your insurance costs. For example, some insurance companies offer safe driving courses or other discounts for drivers who take proactive steps to improve their driving skills.
If you do find yourself facing traffic charges, it’s important to take the situation seriously and seek legal counsel before making any decisions that could impact your driving record and insurance costs.