The consequences of committing a moving violation in Georgia usually include license points and a fine, and motorists who accumulate 15 points may lose their driving privileges and face far steeper auto insurance premiums. Traffic violations rarely lead to a custodial sentence unless people are killed or injured and additional charges are filed, but judges have a great deal of latitude in these cases and may hand down more severe punishments if they see fit.

Fail to Yield and Go to Jail

A Clayton County woman learned this lesson recently when she attended court to contest a traffic violation. She was cited for failing to yield, but she disagreed with the police officer’s account of the events. The woman thought that she had made good arguments and hoped to see the ticket dismissed, but she was found guilty and ordered to pay a $100 fine. The judge then decided that the fine was not a sufficient punishment, and he ordered the woman to spend five consecutive weekends behind bars in the county jail.

The Judge Stands by His Decision

The judge’s decision shocked the woman and attracted widespread media attention. When asked to explain himself by reporters, the judge responded that he stood by his decision and had the right to order jail time. The woman was scheduled to begin serving her sentence on March 6, but another judge intervened at the last moment to downgrade her punishment to just a fine.

Fighting Traffic Tickets in Court

This case reveals that navigating the criminal justice system can be perilous even for those who are only accused of committing minor traffic infractions. If you have been ticketed for speeding, failing to yield or any other moving violation, you may wish to consider consulting with an attorney experienced in these matters. An attorney could examine the traffic ticket to ensure that the police officer involved followed strict protocols and could also advocate on your behalf in court.