Last Friday morning around 2:30 AM, Georgia State Troopers clocked a white BMW speeding at 107MPH on Interstate 85 South. The officer began to pull the car over, but that started a high-speed chase. The BMW took the 17th Street exit into Midtown Atlanta and continued south on Northside Drive. After an attempt to turn left onto Trenholm Street, the car crashed into a pole.
According to the GSP report, driver and three passengers hopped out of the vehicle and ran on foot, fleeing from the accident scene. At this point, Atlanta police officers, other Georgia State Troopers, and the Department of Public Safety's Motor Carrier Compliance Division officers joined the first trooper in successfully tracking down and capturing all four men. All four suspects are 22 years old and younger. All four are allegedly facing charges of obstruction of an officer for their attempts to flee the scene.
Let's narrow in on some of the charges the driver is probably facing if the allegations of the story are true.
The driver was allegedly speeding the BMW at upwards of 107MPH. If you are convicted of driving at a speed of 85 MPH or more on a Georgia highway or 75 MPH or more on any two-lane road, the Georgia Code §40-6-189 defines you as a driver as a “super speeder.” Many people do not realize that after the case is handled in court, you will receive a second fine in the mail. If that fine is not paid, your license, or privilege to drive in Georgia, will be suspended. The additional fine is $200.
Our biggest recommendation is to not forget the superseder fine - it's either that or you risk suspension of your license. Also if you have changed your address and have not updated your address on your license, it incumbent upon you as the driver to still pay it. The notice will come in the mail or you can check online and pay the fine there.
However, if you don't pay the fine, then the O.C.G.A. outlines the penalties as follows in §40-6-189(c)… “The department shall notify offenders of the imposition of a fee under this Code section within 30 days after receipt of a qualifying ticket and notice of conviction. Failure to pay the fee imposed by this Code section within 90 days after receipt of the notice shall result in the suspension of the driver's license or driving privileges of the offender, and, in addition to the existing fees and penalties, a fee of $50.00 shall be assessed, payable upon the application for reinstatement of the driver's license or driving privileges. Notice shall be provided by the department to the offender by first-class mail to the address shown on the records of the department. Such mailed notice shall be adequate notification of the fee imposed by this Code section and of the offender's ability to avoid a driver's license suspension by paying the fee prior to the effective date of the suspension. No other notice shall be required to make the driver's license suspension effective.”
According to the report, the driver was not only 20 years old, but also driving under the influence at the time of the arrest. A DUI charge is taken very seriously by the state of Georgia, and even more seriously if the driver is underage. The legal limit for someone under the age of 21 in Georgia is .02. The penalties that accompany a conviction include a six-month license suspension, up to six to twelve months of jail time (if testing is refused or if above a .08), possible fines up to $1,000, and/or community service.
Driving without a License
The Georgia Code outlines driving without a license under §40-5-121(a). “Except when a license has been revoked under Code Section 40-5-58 as a habitual violator, any person who drives a motor vehicle on any public highway of this state without being licensed as required by subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-20 or at a time when his or her privilege to so drive is suspended, disqualified, or revoked shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for a first conviction.” The penalty for driving without a license has no minimum punishments. Fines between $500 and $1,000 can be imposed as well as a sentence of two days to 12 months.
Obstruction of an Officer
Not only was the driver involved in a high-speed chase with a Georgia State Trooper, but he and the three passengers in his car ran from officers on foot after crashing into a pole. The Georgia Code defines obstructing law enforcement officers as when a person “knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any law enforcement officer, prison guard, correctional officer, probation supervisor, parole supervisor, or conservation ranger in the lawful discharge of his official duties by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer or legally authorized person.” (O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(b)). There was no allegation of violence towards the arresting officer; he will be charged with misdemeanor obstruction and could face up to 12 months in jail.
This young man appears to be facing several serious charges and will need a top-rated Fulton County Criminal Lawyer to walk him through his options and best defend his case.
If you have been charged with a crime in Georgia, you need legal representation by a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney. No offense is too small or big for us to handle. With over 50 combined years of experience, Lawson and Berry know exactly how to assist with your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.