How High Does a Traffic Sign Have To Be In Georgia?

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How Can You Fight A Georgia Traffic Sign Ticket?

We had a client who came to us with a Georgia traffic ticket out of Barrow County for violating a traffic sign stating that no trucks were allowed to use a certain road.  Our traffic ticket client was driving what would be called by most people a big rig or tractor trailer.  He is a professional driver with a Georgia commercial drivers license.  His ability to drive is critical to him providing for himself and his family.  The traffic citation attorneys at Goldstein Law Group knew that and attempted to fight his failure to obey a traffic control device ticket.

The Law of Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device

Specifically, the ticket was for failure to obey a traffic control device in Georgia, which is governed by the Georgia Statute O.C.G.A. 40-6-20, which reads in pertinent part:

  • (a) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of an official traffic-control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter. A violation of this subsection shall be a misdemeanor, except as otherwise provided by subsection (f) of this Code section.
  • (b) No provisions of this chapter which require official traffic-control devices shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official device was not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular Code section does not state that official traffic-control devices are required, such Code section shall be effective even though no devices are erected or in place.

This failure to obey a traffic control device can apply to red light tickets in Georgia or stop sign tickets in Georgia. Any type of traffic signal, whether stationary or electronic, that is not properly followed by Georgia drivers will be given a traffic citation under the failure to obey a traffic control device code section under O.C.G.A. 40-6-20.

How High Does a Traffic Control Sign Have to Be in Georgia?

The important part:  The traffic sign in our client’s case wasn’t high enough.

It turns out that all traffic signs are governed by federal law. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices issued by the Federal Highway Administration of the federal Department of Transportation is the authority which dictates the height which all traffic signs are required to be in order to be legal. It reads in relevant part:

Section 2A.18 Mounting Height

Standard:
04 The minimum height, measured vertically from the bottom of the sign to the elevation of the near edge of the pavement, of signs installed at the side of the road in rural areas shall be 5 feet (see Figure 2A-2).

Since our client was given his no truck ticket in a rural area of Barrow County, the sign needed to be a minimum of 5 feet off of the ground from the bottom of the no truck sign to the bottom of the sign.

How Did Our Atlanta Traffic Ticket Attorneys Prove the Sign Wasn’t High Enough?

Atlanta Ticket Lawyer Sean Goldstein measuring traffic sign.

First, we got tipped off that the no truck sign might not be high enough by looking at Google Maps. It was clear that the sign was tilted down toward the edge of the pavement and might not be high enough. We then went to the scene and measured the sign as you can see from the photo.

We took a standard tape measure and set it at five feet. We then followed the MUTCD and measured the no truck sign from the edge of the pavement to the bottom of the traffic sign.

Once we measured the traffic control device sign, it was painfully clear that the sign was not high enough according to the standards for traffic control signs set out under the MUTCD.

After our Georgia traffic citation attorneys determined this sign was not high enough, we went to court three times to negotiate with the prosecutors regarding the no truck signs deficiencies. After presenting the traffic court prosecutors with the relevant sections from the MUTCD and pictures of the sign, they agreed to dismiss the failure to obey a traffic control device ticket against our CDL driver client.

Contact the Atlanta Traffic Ticket Attorneys at Goldstein Law Group Today

If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket in Atlanta, or anywhere in the State of Georgia including Gwinnett County, Dekalb County, Fulton County, Cobb County, or Barrow County, or in the cities of Atlanta, Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, Douglasville, Dunwoody, Duluth, Johns Creek, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Norcross, Roswell, Sandy Springs, or Suwanee, call us at (678) 757-5529 for a free consultation or Contact Goldstein Law Group online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Radar Georgia Speeding Ticket Defense

Moving Radar Georgia Speeding Ticket Defense

Even after more than five years helping Georgia drivers with their speeding tickets, I still get new cases with new factors in them to consider.  Today’s new factor was a Lilburn speeding ticket issued using “moving radar.”  Frankly, I had never seen a moving radar speeding ticket and investigated on behalf of my client.  Immediately, I was skeptical that moving radar could be as accurate as stationary radar.  Also, I was unaware that Georgia speeding tickets could be issued by an officer using moving radar as I was unsure of whether issuing speeding tickets using moving radar was an approved method by the courts.

A search of the speeding ticket laws in the actual code of the State of Georgia actually revealed absolutely nothing.  There is no mention of moving radar at all.  This Atlanta speeding ticket lawyer can only conclude that moving radar comes under the laws of stationary radar, which can be found in O.C.G.A. 35-8-2 and other assorted statutes.  A search of caselaw yielded similar results.  There were only two cases that mentioned moving radar, one of which was a civil case involving a collision where a state trooper hit a citizen while using moving radar, and a juvenile speeding ticket case where moving radar was used but the court did not comment on the accuracy or reliability of radar in speeding ticket cases.

This Atlanta speeding citation attorney can only concluded that while moving radar may be admissible in your Atlanta speeding violation case according to the courts, a good Atlanta speeding ticket lawyer might be able to fight your speeding ticket if moving radar was used based on the at least perceived less reliability of  moving radar versus stationary radar.  Knowing what I now know, I will certainly be prepared to go to Lilburn Municipal Court with solid arguments on why our client’s Lilburn speeding ticket should be reduced or dismissed.

 

Ignition Interlock After DUI Charges

Gwinnett Interlock Systems Owner Gina Matthews

With ignition interlock becoming much more important after the recent changes to administrative license suspensions, I decided to learn more about what our clients who have DUI charges in Gwinnett County might be facing.  In order to learn more about ignition interlock equipment, installation, and monitoring, I visited with the nice people over at Gwinnett Interlock Systems in Lawrenceville at their open house held on July 15, 2017.

New Georgia Law Allowing Ignition Interlock In Administrative License Suspension Cases

To understand why ignition interlock has become much more important recently, it’s important to understand some changes in the law people face when facing DUI charges in Atlanta.  If you are facing an administrative license suspension hearing as a result of a DUI charge in Georgia, the law underwent sweeping changes which went into effect July 1, 2017.  These changes allow people who have been charged with DUI in Georgia and are facing an administrative license suspension 30 days to file for an appeal hearing to an administrative license suspension.  Within that 30 days, people need to make a choice with advice from their Atlanta DUI attorney to have an administrative license suspension hearing or to choose to have an ignition interlock device installed into their car for 12 months.

Whether to have an administrative license suspension hearing or install the interlock device is a big decision and should be made with advice from a good Gwinnett County DUI attorney.  You can read more about that decision in this other post in our series regarding the new laws.

One of the aspects regarding whether to elect to install an ignition interlock device if charged with DUI in Gwinnett County is the process of actually installing and monitoring the equipment.

Lifesafer FC100 mouthpiece. Photo credit lifesafer.com.

Ignition Interlock Device Equipment in Gwinnett County

I’m happy to say that Gwinnett Interlock Systems utilizes Lifesafer DUI ignition interlock devices.  These systems are very reliable and small.  The systems are small enough that they can be installed under the dash of most cars without being visible.  The only visible component of the ignition interlock device is the actual mouthpiece.  This will hang down on a chord outside of the dashboard.  It’s not overly obtrusive.

Ignition Interlock Device Installation in Gwinnett County

According to Matthews, installation for an ignition interlock device can be completed in about two hours.  Again, installation occurs under the dash of the car.  There should be no damage to the car during installation.  Installation costs $75.00.

Ignition Interlock Device Month Monitoring in Gwinnett County

Monthly monitoring of the ignition interlock device for people who have them installed as a result of DUI charges in Gwinnett County is required.  Monthly monitoring of the ignition interlock device will log the times, if any, a person failed after blowing into the mouthpiece.  The monthly monitoring will make sure that the device isn’t being tampered with and that the device is functioning properly.  According to Matthews, monitoring can be accomplished in a half hour and costs $75.00 per month.

If you’re charged with DUI  in Gwinnett County and are thinking about installing an ignition interlock device, our Gwinnett County DUI attorneys highly recommend Gwinnett Interlock Systems.  They can be reached at 678-373-3026.

 

Georgia Administrative License Suspension Hearing Request New Time Limits

To all potential clients charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) there are important revisions to the rules regarding Georgia Administrative License Suspensions (ALS) effective July 1, 2017.  The new administrative license suspension hearing laws went into effect on July 1, 2017.  They apply to all Georgia drivers charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs after the effective date.  This post deals with changes to the time limitations under which a Georgia driver has to request an ALS appeal hearing to avoid a license suspension for DUI.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Georgia, police will generally request a test of your breath, blood, or urine to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) or if you have drugs in your system.  If a Georgia driver with DUI charges refused to take the test or tested above the legal limits for blood alcohol content (BAC), the license was suspended for one year UNLESS an administrative license suspension hearing was requested.

One of the biggest changes to the administrative license suspensions hearings framework is the time that a person charged with driving under the influence has to request an ALS hearing.  The time limitations for filing an administrative license suspension hearing letter used to be 10 business days.  The controlling code section is O.C.G.A. 40-5-67.1(g)(1).  Here is the old version:

“A person whose driver’s license is suspended or who is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle pursuant to this Code section shall remit to the department a $150.00 filing fee together with a request, in writing, for a hearing within ten business days from the date of personal notice or receipt of notice sent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, or the right to said hearing shall be deemed waived. Within 30 days after receiving a written request for a hearing, the department shall hold a hearing as is provided in Chapter 13 of Title 50, the “Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.” The hearing shall be recorded.”

Here at Goldstein Law Group, our driving under the influence attorneys always thought that the old 10-day limit for requesting a hearing for an administrative license suspension hearing was too short.  Quite often, we would have a potential client with DUI charges meet with us and our Georgia DUI lawyers would have to inform the client that the time period for filing an ALS hearing had already passed and that their Georgia driver license was suspended for one year with no recourse.

It appears as though the Georgia legislature has finally agree with our Georgia DUI attorneys, because the ALS laws has been changed to greatly extend the time limitations to file for an administrative license suspension hearing.  The new administrative licenses suspension hearing laws allow for 30 days to file for an ALS appeal hearing to avoid a license suspension for DUI.  Here is the new ALS law code section, which is still O.C.G.A. 40-5-67.1(g)(1):

“A person whose driver’s license is suspended or who is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle pursuant to this Code section shall remit to the department a $150.00 filing fee together with a request, in writing, for a hearing within 30 days from the date of personal notice or receipt of notice sent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, or the right to said hearing shall be deemed waived. The issuance of an ignition interlock device limited driving permit to a person eligible for such permit under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-64.1 shall constitute a waiver of the right to a hearing under this subsection. Within 30 days after receiving a written request for a hearing, the department shall hold a hearing as is provided in Chapter 13 of Title 50, the “Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.” The hearing shall be recorded.”

There are a few changes to this new ALS law code section, with the most important being:

  1. The time limit to file for an administrative license suspension appeal hearing is now 30 days instead of 10;
  2. The days to file for an ALS hearing are now measured in calendar days and not business days;
  3. To appeal an administrative license suspension hearing request must now be sent via certified mail or statutory overnight delivery with return receipt requested;

Failure to follow the code section correctly will waive your right to an administrative license suspension hearing and your Georgia driver license will be revoked for one year.  There is now a provision for an ignition interlock permit, but that is a post for another day.

As always, the DUI lawyers here at Goldstein Law Group help Georgia drivers with DUI charges in Gwinnett, DUI charges in Atlanta and across the metro area.  Feel free to contact our DUI attorneys if you have any questions.

 

Two Gwinnett County Police Department Officers Fired for Excessive Force

Two Gwinnett County Police Department Officers were fired after using excessive force on a stopped motorist. Demetrius Hollins, 21, was the stopped motorist who was assaulted.

The two officers who were fired were Officer Robert McDonald and Sargent Michael Bongiavonni. Cell phone videos captured Bongiovonni punching Hollins during a traffic stop while Hollins had his hands up. Another video showed McDonald kicking Hollins in the head while he lay on the ground handcuffed.

Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers acted swiftly once the videos surfaced and fired Officer McDonald and Officer Bongiavonni. Bongiavonni had claimed that Hollins resisted arrest, but this explanation was not enough to save his job. Officer Bongiavonni had been with Gwinnett County Police Department for 19 years.

Pictures taken of Hollins at the jail show him with a bloody face.

A little known fact about Gwinnett County Police Department is that the vast majority of its cars do not contain the dash cam video equipment recorders that have become standard in most jurisdictions. In this case, it was lucky that the misconduct was caught by cell phone cameras or it could have gone unpunished. Undoubtedly, this case will cause criminal defense lawyers and citizens to redouble their calls for Gwinnett County Police Department to install dash cameras in all cars.