Illegal Passing of Emergency Vehicles

Have You Been Charged with Illegal Passing of Emergency Vehicles in Georgia?

Most people know that you are supposed to slow down for emergency vehicles but are unaware of the severe consequences that come from unlawfully passing emergency vehicles. All across the nation states have imposed some type of Move Over law in order to protect our law enforcement officers and safety personnel. In Georgia, the law is called the Spencer Pass Law and a conviction under it can cost up to $500 plus surcharges. If you have been charged with illegally passing an emergency vehicle in Georgia, contact the Offices of Lawson and Berry today.

Spencer Pass Law – O.C.G.A. §40-6-16

Georgia's law is named after Spencer Pass who was a HERO (Highway Emergency Response Operator) driver. Pass was assisting a vehicle that was stranded on the side of the road when a utility truck driver hit and killed him because the truck failed to move over. Therefore, Georgia implemented the Spencer Pass law in hopes to avoid this happening in the future.

O.C.G.A. §40-6-16

(b) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red, or blue lights shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

(c) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary towing or recovery vehicle, a stationary highway maintenance vehicle, or a stationary utility service vehicle that is utilizing traffic cones or displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the towing, recovery, highway maintenance, or utility service vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

Georgia Penalties for Illegally Passing an Emergency Vehicle

A person convicted of violating subsection (b) of O.C.G.A. §40-6-1 will be punished by a fine up to $500.

A person convicted of violating subsection (c) of O.C.G.A. §40-6-1 will be punished by a fine up to $250.

In addition to a fine, three points will be added to your license. This could lead to higher insurance premiums or your license being suspended if you already have points on your license.

Defenses for Illegal Passing of an Emergency Vehicle in Georgia

One of the defenses you could use to try and fight your case is that you were unable to move into the adjacent lane despite your best efforts. If traffic was too heavy or people would not let you over ,and you passed the emergency vehicle at a reasonable and proper speed, you may be successful in fighting your case. Georgia has not set a speed at which they deem it too fast when passing an emergency vehicle but your Georgia Traffic Attorney can argue you were going a reasonable speed and there is no evidence that you were not.

Another defense is if the vehicle did not have any emergency lights flashing. If there is evidence that no lights were present, that could be a defense.

What is Not Considered a Defense in Georgia

I did not see the flashing lights: This argument will not be accepted. Drivers are expected to pay attention to their surroundings.

Contact Us

If you have been charged with passing an emergency vehicle in Georgia, contact the Law Offices of Lawson and Berry today. Our Georgia Traffic Lawyers have unparalleled experience and are ready to help you fight your case. Call now.

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The time is now to start preparing your defense! Many times people lose the opportunity to put on their best defense because they wait. The importance of hiring a lawyer from the very beginning cannot be overstated! Waiting allows for witnesses to leave the area, evidence to be lost, and memories to fade. All of these have a direct effect on the successful on your case. The time to begin your case and start prepping your defense is now! Contact us today to put on your best Georgia criminal defense!

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