Before you arrive at Brookhaven Municipal Court for a traffic violation, you should research your options and possible consequences. Not only could you incur a hefty fine, but there is the risk of increased points on your driving history and significant penalties.
The potential consequences can be overwhelming when you don’t understand how points on your record factor into your situation. While a few marks on your record might not seem like a big deal, if you accumulate too many in a certain period, the state of Georgia will suspend your license.
Why Is Your Driving History Important for Your Traffic Court Date?
For this reason, you should keep track of how many points you currently have. Knowing your status provides a better understanding of how severe the penalties will be for your new ticket. It also allows you to make a more informed decision about your plea options.
You can find out what is on your Georgia driving history by logging in to your online DDS account at www.dds.ga.gov and pulling up your “Suspension Detail Report”.
If you’re like most drivers, you probably assume that your insurance rates will increase just because you have points added to your record. And you might make a hasty decision to avoid a spike in your rates – usually, in the form of taking a nolo plea.
But you should know that points aren’t always the deciding factor. Typically, insurance companies are more concerned with what types of traffic violations are on your record then they are with whether or not there are points attached. They use conviction information (not point counts) to determine how risky of a driver you are and assess your rates.
Does a Nolo Plea For a Traffic Violation Affect My Insurance?
If you don’t have an attorney to guide you, you could wind up making an ill-informed decision when it’s time to make your plea statement. Many drivers opt to plead no contest (nolo) because they assume it will look better than a guilty plea to their insurance companies, avoiding a spike in rates. However, this is often a faulty assumption. Check with your insurance company to find out if they differentiate between nolo and guilty pleas.
Instead of pleading no contest, it is often more beneficial to seek a complete dismissal or a reduction to a non-reportable offense. This route is a much better option for protecting your current insurance rates.
While there are situations where a nolo plea can be advantageous, talk to an attorney before you make a hasty decision in court.
Can I Resolve My Traffic Violation Without a Lawyer?
It’s not always necessary to hire a lawyer to represent you for a traffic court date. But even if you are on the fence about hiring a lawyer, it would be wise to consult with a legal professional so you can have a thorough understanding of your options and the possible outcomes.
Additionally, it would benefit you to have someone experienced in the process so you can create a strategy for reducing your charges or penalties before you arrive at Brookhaven Municipal Court.
If you’d like assistance or guidance, schedule a free consultation to speak to an attorney today.