Most traffic violations in Georgia are either misdemeanor or felony crimes. This is not true in every state. Most traffic crimes in Georgia are punishable by a fine not to exceed $1000, jail time not to exceed twelve months, or some combination of both jail time and a fine. Because punishment in many of our traffic laws can, but rarely does, result in you receiving jail time, many drivers and passengers of automobiles in Georgia believe it to be okay to represent themselves, and are dismayed when the judge hands down the sentence.
Although few courts in Georgia put people in jail for minor traffic violations, convictions for traffic violations can cost more money than a driver had planned to give away in a year’s time. Convictions for traffic violations also produce driving records in Georgia that stay around for the life of the driver. And as such can cost the driver way more from those companies and industries that look at such than what is extracted from the driver’s household via a fine or court cost. A bad driving record can cause you to be denied a job where driving is anticipated. A bad driving record can cause you to have exorbitant insurance rates. A bad driving record can cause you to be given a jail sentence when you actually encounter one of those judges who believe the only way to do their jobs right is to put you in jail.
I have heard judges in the past tell people that they can represent themselves, but gloss over or don’t mention at all to those same people that the judge, court staff, and prosecutor have a vested and sanctioned interest in them paying a fine rather than being found not guilty. Restated, the only way you can pay a fine is if you either plead guilty or nolo, or are found to be so by the judge or jury. And I have observed prosecutors enter into agreements with people to plead guilty or nolo, when the charge that the person has been accused of doing cannot be made were it to go to trial. Although the lawyers of this firm aren’t free; when this firm takes money from you and is able to successfully represent you before a court, our past clients have rated our service outstanding and worth what they have had to pay, and less than what it would have cost them had we not been hired. We give you the cited vehicle operator a team to work with and for you when facing the judge and prosecutor who are both lawyers, and the person employed by the governmental entity bringing you to the prosecutor and judge. We level the field, and try to tip it in your favor. So don’t give up your right because someone who benefits from your being fined says that many people defend themselves. They aren’t lying to you, but you aren’t required to jump off of a bridge just because someone else did it.