Navigating the teenage years comes with newfound freedoms and responsibilities, especially regarding driving. Driving isn’t a right but a privilege earned and maintained through safe driving habits and adherence to traffic rules.
Anyone can commit traffic offenses, and even young drivers can face charges. In Georgia, as in many states, traffic offenses can significantly impact a young driver’s future, starting with their driving privileges.
The point system
Georgia uses a point system to identify drivers who habitually commit traffic violations. Each violation has a corresponding point value, such as six points for driving 34 mph over the speed limit or three points for disobeying a traffic control device or officer.
Other notable traffic offenses and the point values they carry include:
- Unlawful passing of a school bus: Six points
- Exceeding the speed limit by 24-34 mph: Four points
- Possessing an open container of alcohol while driving: Two points
These points are assessed toward a driver’s license, and if they collect 15 or more points within 24 months, the state Department of Driver Services suspends the license.
Immediate license suspensions
However, certain serious offenses, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving, can lead to an immediate license suspension, even for a first offense. For drivers under 21, any offense that carries at least four assessment points – such as reckless driving or improper passing on a hill or curve – can also lead to a license suspension on the spot.
A traffic offense charge can be devastating, especially for teen drivers. On top of license point assessments, the offense will appear on the young driver’s record, impacting their education and employment opportunities. The more serious traffic offenses, such as DUI, are also criminal offenses that can lead to fines and imprisonment.
If you’re a young driver facing charges for a traffic violation, or you’re the parent of one, consider seeking legal counsel. Don’t underestimate the impact of a traffic violation.