Coronavirus Pandemic Georgia Traffic Court Update

Coronavirus Pandemic Georgia Traffic Court Update

All Georgia traffic courts have been suspended in Georgia since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly, most of the courts shut down on March 13.

Now, traffic courts in Georgia have begun to reopen. The Atlanta traffic ticket lawyers at have now appeared in two traffic courts. We had clients with traffic tickets in Duluth Municipal Court and Lilburn Municipal Court. Our traffic ticket attorneys appeared in those courts this week to try to get our clients’ traffic tickets reduced.

Coronavirus Georgia traffic ticket court procedures

Regarding the coronavirus traffic ticket court procedure, this traffic ticket lawyer thinks that both the Duluth Municipal Court and the Lilburn Municipal Court should be commended. Both traffic ticket courts had very well defined procedures. If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket in Georgia and you expect to have to appear in either of these two courts, this is what you can expect.

In both traffic citation courts, the person appearing is required to sign a form stating that they are not exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, that there has been no travel to a coronavirus hotspot, and that there has been no positive test for the coronavirus. Both of these traffic courts in Georgia take each traffic citation defendant’s temperature and sanitize hands before entrance is allowed.

Both of these Georgia traffic ticket courts require masks. If you do not have a mask, one is provided to you by the traffic court at no charge.

Once you are inside Duluth Municipal Court or Lilburn municipal court for your traffic ticket court appearance, you will be guided to a spot where you will wait for your case to be called. Both of the Georgia traffic ticket courts have these spots spaced out to observe social distancing. Once your traffic citation case is called, you will meet with the prosecutor from a safe distance, again observing social distancing.


If judging from the procedures implemented by Duluth Municipal traffic court and Lilburn Municipal traffic court are any indication, the traffic courts in Georgia are adapting well. Our Atlanta traffic ticket lawyers look forward to continuing to appear in these courts to help our clients get their Georgia traffic tickets reduced or dismissed.

During this pandemic, the Atlanta traffic ticket attorneys at urge you to be safe. If we can help you fight your traffic ticket, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you!

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

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

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.














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

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.


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.

Should You Plead Nolo Contendere To Your Speeding Ticket?

Pleading Nolo Contendere to a Speeding Ticket

Should you plead nolo contendere to your speeding ticket?  This is a question that I am asked endlessly by my traffic ticket clients.  They call and ask, “Why don’t I just plead nolo to my speeding ticket?”

People think pleading nolo contendere to a speeding ticket is like shooting a werewolf with a silver bullet or stabbing a vampire through the heart with a stake.  Unfortunately, pleading nolo contendere to a speeding ticket is no magic solution.

By the way, pleading nolo contendere and no contest are the same thing.  Nolo contendere is latin, and the English translation is no contest.  They are exactly the same thing.

The answer to this question is a big, resounding, NO.  As a traffic ticket lawyer, I think there are very few cases where you should plead nolo contendere to a speeding ticket.  Here’s why.

A Nolo Contendere Plea to a Speeding Ticket is Still Reported to Your Driving Record

Contrary to popular belief, a nolo contendere plea will NOT keep the speeding ticket from being reported to your driving record.  If you plead nolo contendere to your speeding ticket, the speeding ticket will still be reported to your driving record.

Your car insurance company will still be able to see the speeding ticket.  When they run your driving record before deciding whether to raise your car insurance rates, they will be able to see that you pled nolo contendere to a speeding ticket AND the speed you were traveling!

Many people seem to think that pleading nolo contendere to your speeding ticket will stop your car insurance company from finding out about the speeding ticket.  The sad truth is that a nolo plea doesn’t prevent your car insurance company from discovering the speeding ticket.

Car Insurance Companies Do Not Care If You Plead Nolo To A Speeding Ticket Or Guilty To A Speeding Ticket

Once I give a potential client this information, the next question is inevitably “Well, the car insurance company can’t raise my rates since I pled nolo, right?”  Wrong.  Your car insurance company DOES NOT CARE that you pled nolo contendere to your speeding ticket. 

To a car insurance company, a nolo contendere plea to a speeding ticket is the same as a guilty plea.  Your car insurance company will simply look at the speeding ticket, note the speed, and correspondingly raise your car insurance rates for anywhere from three to seven years.  Pleading nolo contendere to a speeding ticket can end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your car insurance rates.

I know, dear reader, that you are thinking, “But I’m not pleading guilty!  I’m pleading no contest!  I’m not admitting guilt!”  Sorry, but your car insurance company does not care.  There is no law that says that car insurance companies cannot raise your car insurance rates if you plead nolo contendere to a speeding ticket.

Benefits of Pleading No Contest to a Speeding Ticket

There’s got to be some benefit to pleading nolo contendere to speeding ticket, right?  You are correct, there is some benefit to pleading no contest to your speeding ticket.

Quite simply, a nolo contendere plea to a speeding ticket keeps the points off of your record.  Points are used by the Department of Driver Services to determine if your license should be suspended.  That’s it.  Points do not determine whether your car insurance company raises your car insurance rates if your get a citation for speeding.  Most of the time, your speeding ticket is not going to result in enough points that it will suspend your license unless you have a a pretty bad driving record.

In the opinion of this traffic ticket lawyer, the benefit to pleading no contest to a speeding citation is very limited and you are usually better off keeping that no contest plea in your back pocket rather than burning it on a speeding ticket.  Remember, you only get to plead nolo contendere once every five years in Georgia.

When is it a good time to use that nolo contendere plea?  Well, that’s another post for another day…