If you’ve received a traffic ticket in the Atlanta area, you could be facing far-reaching repercussions. Hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars in fines, increased insurance rates, license suspension, and even jail time are real possibilities. And, drivers under 21 or those with a higher number of points on their record will typically face more severe penalties.
While the court staff and prosecutor might share relevant information, they often don’t have much time to discuss your options at length. So it’s a good idea to thoroughly research before you show up to Fulton County State Court to resolve the issue.
Should I Take a Nolo Plea for a Traffic Violation?
The court expects you to make several important decisions within moments of entering the courtroom. So it’s wise to do your due diligence before you arrive for your arraignment.
One choice you will have to make is determining what kind of plea is right for you. Many drivers go to court focused on avoiding a guilty plea. But once they arrive, they learn about the possibility of pleading “nolo,” or “no contest.” In these situations, the driver is not accepting or denying responsibility but agrees to accept the punishment.
This plea option often sounds like a great compromise because it can keep points off your driving record – and drivers believe it will keep their insurance rates down. Unfortunately, this plea does not offer protection from insurance rate hikes. A nolo conviction is still recorded on your driving record and visible to insurance companies.
Plus, drivers can only use a nolo plea once every five years, and nolo can be valuable in limited situations. A nolo plea can be valuable under the right circumstances, but you should be careful to research whether a nolo plea will provide the relief you need in your case.
How Do I Contest My Citation?
Some drivers might decide to fight their traffic citation and plead not guilty. If this is the route you want to take, you can advise the judge of your plea at your court date. At that point, you will have the option of requesting a jury trial or bench trial.
Lawyers are very careful when advising their clients about whether to request a jury or bench trial. Often that decision will depend on the type of citation, the potential consequences after trial, and the specific judge assigned to a case.
Hiring an Attorney for a Traffic Violation in Atlanta
There are many choices you will have to make when you’re dealing with a traffic violation:
- Should I enter a nolo plea or a guilty plea?
- Should I contest my citation?
- And, do I need to hire an attorney?
While it’s not required for traffic court, having a legal representative who regularly practices in Fulton County State Court can be incredibly beneficial.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of the decisions involved, or the possible consequences you are facing, you can schedule a free consultation to speak to an attorney today.