Laying drags occurs when a motor vehicle driver operates a motor vehicle in such a manner as to endanger other individuals or property by intentionally causing the vehicle to move in a zigzag pattern, circular course, gyration, or to spin around. Individual who are charged with laying drags in the state of Georgia frequently find it essential to retain the services of a skilled attorney. In preparing to create a strong defense against a laying drags charge, individuals also frequently benefit by understanding some of the key details about how these types of charges arise.
Applicable Law in the State of Georgia
The applicable law concerning laying drags in the state of Georgia is particularly ambiguous and often based upon a law enforcement officer’s perception. Laying drags can be particularly difficult for law enforcement to establish because individuals must establish the driver’s intent and drivers in the state of Georgia are always presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
Law in the state of Georgia states that it is illegal for an individual to operate a motor vehicle in a way that intentionally and unnecessarily causes a motor vehicle to move in a zigzag, a circular course, a gyration, or to spin around.
There is some additional case law in the state of Georgia that has further decided how laying drags are made. Vehicle tires that smoke while the vehicle making a turn are not considered enough to constitute a charge of laying drags. Merely the sound of an engine and screeching tires is not considered enough for a charge of laying drags. Individuals who are pulled over by law enforcement for this particular offense are considered to be “laying drags”.
The only time in which moving one’s vehicle in a situation like this is considered legal is when an individual is trying to avoid a motor vehicle collision, injury, or damage.
The laying drags law also does not apply to drivers who are operating motor vehicles on any drag strips, raceways, or other places used for such activity.
Even if an individual is determined to not be driving a vehicle in such a way to satisfy a laying drags charge, law enforcement might still have sufficient grounds to stop the individual’s vehicle. Once a motor vehicle is stopped, a law enforcement officer will make additional contact with the motor vehicle driver and might observe signs of intoxication due to either alcohol or drugs that cause the law enforcement officer to conduct an investigation to make a determination as to whether the motor vehicle driver is operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Given that law enforcement can use this type of behavior as the basis for a lawful stop, motor vehicle drivers should be aware that driving in a manner that suggests the motor vehicle operator has recently been laying drags will likely provide a law enforcement with probable cause to initiate an investigative stop of a vehicle.
There are many available defenses that individuals can use in response to charges of laying drags. These defenses must be presented in a manner that is consistent with the applicable language about laying drags in the state of Georgia.
Even if the laying drags incident occurred on private property like a driveway or private parking lot, this element will not create a successful defense for individuals.
In order to convict an individual, the opposing counsel must prove that the individual was laying drags which can be difficult and might rely on circumstantial evidence that the event occurred.
Seasoned legal counsel with experience handling laying drags cases will know how to best evaluate all of the facts and testimony about a laying drags incident to attack the claims by law enforcement and opposing counsel in order to reach the best conclusion possible.
Resulting Penalties from Laying Drags
Laying drags is classified as a moving violation, and is also considered a criminal offense for which individuals can be charged with a misdemeanor.
Being convicted for laying drags has the potential in a number of significant penalties including a one thousand dollar fine, increased insurance rates, and three points placed on the motor vehicle operator’s driver’s license, and even a potential of up to twelve months in jail time.
Motor vehicle drivers in the state of Georgia who accumulate a total of fifteen or more points during a twenty-four month period will then face a suspension of driving privileges. For motor vehicles under the age of eighteen, four or more points accumulated during any twelve month period also has the potential to in a driver’s license suspension.
Potential Additional Charges
In many situations, laying drags in the state of Georgia is made in combination with a citation for racing. Georgia law makes it illegal for any individual to drive a vehicle on a highway in the state of Georgia in any race, speed competition, acceleration contest, or test of physical endurance.
The high speed and reckless nature in which motor vehicles are operated when a driver is laying drags or racing has the potential to cause serious injuries, fatalities, and extensive property damage. When accidents occur involving these types of driving pattern, several types of accidents tend to occur including head-on collisions, t-bone collisions, multiple vehicle accidents, sideswipes, and vehicle rollovers.
Contact an Experienced Georgia Accident Attorney
In many cases, individuals are uncertain about what the offense of laying drags includes or exactly why the individual is guilty of such an offense. One of the best pieces of advice after being charged with laying drags is to avoid pleading guilty without first being aware of all the potential consequences and should always attempt to at least speak with skilled legal counsel.
The Atlanta-based law firm of Yeargan, Barber & Kert has significant experience helping individuals in cases involving laying drag. Consider retaining the services of a skilled and experienced attorney if you face these laying drags charges. Our legal counsel is knowledgeable about the many existing legal defenses to a charge of laying in addition to knowing how to best create a strong legal strategy no matter the situation.