Have You Been Charged with Aggressive Driving in Georgia?
Aggressive driving manifests itself in many ways in Georgia. Weaving in and out of traffic, passing in no pass zones, speeding, following too close, and flashing headlights are just a few examples of aggressive driving. The aggressive driving attorneys at Lawson and Berry have over 50 years of experience. They understand that you have the benefit of aggressive driving being primarily based on witness testimony. This can make it difficult to prove. If you or a loved one has been charged with aggressive driving in Georgia, contact our office now. The consequences are severe if convicted, so call now.
Georgia Law on Aggressive Driving
According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-397, aggressive driving occurs when a person operates any motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, injure, or obstruct another person including without limitation violating Code Section 40-6-42 [overtaking and passing], 40-6-48 [improper lane change or usage], 40-6-49 [following too closely], 40-6-123 [failing to signal], 40-6-184 [driving too slowly], 40-6-312 [lane usage by motorcycles], or 40-6-390 [reckless driving] with such intent.
One of the most interesting things about aggressive driving is that it does not just apply to other drivers. Instead, the behavior can be directed against any specific person. This includes passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or another person on the road. State v. Burrell, 263 Ga. App. 207, (2003).
Because Georgia's statute on aggressive driving is vague, it can be difficult for prosecutors to establish the accused's intent at trial. Reckless driving is a more commonly charged offense because it is easier to prove. There are only a few reported cases of aggressive driving.
The Court of Appeals of Georgia found a man guilty of aggressive driving after he rammed another car four times. Robert Lee Simmons was driving on I-20 in icy conditions. Cars were lined up in the emergency lane to exit the highway when Simmons struck another car four times in rapid succession. During the trial, Simmons argued that he struck the vehicle due to the icy conditions. However, the Court found that striking it four times right after another and then hitting the car again as he fled the scene was not due to the conditions but was instead aggressive driving. Therefore, he was convicted. Simmons v. State, 321 Ga. App. 743, (2013).
Another instance of aggressive driving can be seen in Frasard v. State. An Atlanta police officer driving an unmarked police car testified that Frasard drove up behind his car but came so close to the vehicle that the officer could not see his headlights. When the officer refused to drive faster, Frasard began honking his horn and was swerving. The officer motioned for Frasard to go around but he refused. When using his horn, he would hold it for 20-25 seconds. Whey they had to stop at a red light, the officer got out of the car to approach Frasard. Frasard yelled at the officer, “You need to get to of my way, You have no right to go that slow.” Frasard was charged and convicted of aggressive driving. 278 Ga. App. 352, (2006).
Aggressive driving can even occur through bullying. A teenage was pulling out of her high school parking lot when a car full of girls began yelling mean comments at her and making obscene gestures. The driver of the car said, “watch this” and slammed on her brakes. The victim was able to brake in time, but the car behind her was not, and she was rear-ended. The driver of the car was charged and convicted of aggressive driving. In re A.M.A., 266 Ga. App. 273, (2004).
The Penalty for Aggressive Driving in Georgia
A person convicted of aggressive driving in Georgia will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. In Georgia, a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature comes with the penalty of a fine up to $5,000, a prison term up to 12 months, or both.
Additionally, an aggressive driving conviction will add 6 points to your license. 6 points is a significant amount considering your driver's license will be suspended if 15 or more points are accumulated in any consecutive 24-month period.
If you are under 21 and convicted of aggressive driving, your license will be suspended for a six month period. Any offense where four or more points are added will suspend someone under the age of 21's license.
Lastly, a person who causes an accident due to aggressive driving may be subject to a civil suit from the victim. They can seek damages int he form of pain and suffering, loss of income, medical expenses, and punitive damages.
How an Aggressive Driving Lawyer in Georgia Can Help
Because aggressive driving is largely based on witness testimony, there may not be enough proof to convict. Our Georgia aggressive driving lawyers know how to fight your case. We know how to challenge the facts in your case. We interview the police officer associated with your case to determine whether your actions amounted to aggressive driving. We will work with the prosecutor assigned to your case in negotiating a dismissal of the charges, a reduction to reckless driving, or reducing to another charge.
There are multiple defenses at your disposal. 6 points on your license can make all the difference so do not just plead guilty! Contact our offices for a free consultation with our experienced aggressive driving attorneys in Georgia.