We often get calls asking “Does a traffic ticket count as an arrest?”, or “Does the traffic ticket go on your record?”.  We are going to answer these questions by explaining how traffic stops work in Georgia.

In Georgia, a traffic ticket is NOT an arrest, but it is a criminal misdemeanor.   An arrest occurs when an officer takes you into custody and you are booked into jail.  When you receive a traffic ticket, you are given an option to pay or to appear in court.  You will provide proof of your identify, insurance and registration of your vehicle which allows the officer the option to give you a ticket in lieu of bail or being taken to jail.  One purpose of a traffic ticket is to allow an officer to initiate a criminal charge without having to take you to jail, although the officer, in his discretion, can arrest you.  It’s important that during a traffic stop you abide by the officer’s instructions.  Provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance and be courteous.  This keeps everyone safe and there is less of a chance of any issues.  If you are handcuffed, booked into jail, photographed and/or detained for a prolonged period of time by law enforcement during a traffic stop you should consult with a lawyer right away. 

Your Record – Driving and/or Criminal

As mentioned above, Georgia traffic tickets are criminal misdemeanors.  These will go on your driving record but not create a true criminal record.  However, it should be noted that there are some exceptions.  If you are arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence), it can rise to the level of a felony.  These will be on your driving record and your criminal record.

Although they may not be on your criminal record, traffic tickets can, and will, affect your ability to drive legally.  If you have enough tickets in a given period, your driving license will be suspended.  Driving without a license in Georgia is a serious issue.

To further complicate things, Georgia has the Super Speeder Law which you can read about here.  Before paying any ticket, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney.  Although you haven’t been arrested, citations for traffic stops can have a major effect on your driving record. We have seen outstanding tickets affect a person’s license for years after the offense.  While we were able to clean these up, it’s much better to allow us to do this from the start.  It save you time and money. You can contact Ty here.