Headlight Requirements in Georgia
We all have seen the person who forgot to turn their headlights on and maybe you were in an accident with someone who forgot. While most people understand that you must have your headlights on at night, you can also get a ticket if it is raining and you do not have them on. The Georgia headlight requirements are in place to protect you! It is in your best interest to use your headlights and to help keep the people around you safe as well. We will be outlining the laws dealing with headlight use in Georgia.
The first statute that outlines headlight laws is O.C.G.A. §40-8-20:
Georgia law requires headlights to be on in these circumstances:
- From 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise
- Any time it is raining
- Any other time when there is not sufficient visibility to render clearly discernible persons for at least 500 feet. Types of weather conditions where you are unable to see 500 feet in front of you may include fog, snow, smoke, sleet, and heavy rain.
One of the key points of this statute that is not as widely known is that headlights are required 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. Sometimes, it is still plenty light out at these times but lights are still needed. Another thing that is interesting is when it is raining. You may not think your visibility is impaired enough to use headlights when it is raining but they are required. The purpose leans more towards other people being able to see you. Lastly, the phrase when “there is not sufficient visibility to render clearly discernible persons” can be interpreted in different ways. Therefore, you may receive a ticket for violating this although you believe you could still see clearly. That is where our Georgia Headlight Lawyers can help. We understand that this is up to the subjective opinion of the officer and we will work diligently to fight that assumption.
While automatic headlights are a great tool for drivers, they can also lead to an O.C.G.A. §40-8-20 violation. The automatic headlights do not follow the law and may not turn on when it is required. For instance, many downtown or city areas have sufficient lighting. Therefore, your car may not turn on the headlights because it senses that there is enough light.
Many people receive a ticket when they have a rental car. They are not used to turning on their headlights so they are unaware no lights are on. Therefore, they could receive a ticket.
Lastly, you can get a ticket for driving without headlights no matter where you are. The statute is silent on the specifics so officers can ticket you in your neighborhood, in a parking lot, as well as anywhere else on the roadways.
O.C.G.A. §40-8-22 details additional regulations regarding headlights:
Every motor vehicle must have at least two but no more than four headlights. Every motorcycle must have at least one and no more than two headlights.
However, the most important part is that the headlights shall be maintained in proper working condition.
Driving without working headlights will be grounds for you to be pulled over and issued a ticket. Many people are pulled over for a headlight violation and end up being charged with much more. It could be a DUI, possession of marijuana, or another offense. Once pulled over, officers are allowed to charge you with other crimes if they have cause.
The Penalty for a Headlight Violation in Georgia
A convicted for a headlight offense in Georgia will result in fines and points being added to your license. Under O.C.G.A. §4-8-20, 3 points will be added to your license. While this may not seem like a big deal, remember that 15 points in a 24 month period will result in your driving privileges being revoked. However, if you are under 18 years of age, your driving privileges can be suspended if you accumulate 4 points over the course of 12 months.
Because many people do not want points to be added to their license, it is critical to hire a headlight attorney in Georgia. We have decades of traffic ticket experience and are equipped to settle your case outside of court or go to trial. We understand that sometimes you want to just pay the fine and be done, but it is in your best interest to at least have a Georgia Headlight Lawyer look at your case. If you have a clean driving record or the facts support it, your Georgia Attorney could negotiate your ticket down to a basic rules violation which results in zero points being added to your license.