Headlight Requirement Law in Georgia
The Information You Need to Know about the Headlight Requirement Law while Driving in Atlanta from Yeargan & Kert, LLC
Do you know police officer must have a reason to stop you while you are operating a motor vehicle in the Atlanta area, and one of these reasons may be a failure to follow the Georgia Headlight Requirement Law? This is called reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion involves a police officer observing a driver and determining he or she may have broken a law or committed a traffic infraction. Many drivers believe they have to commit an unsafe driving act to be pulled over for driving under the influence of driving and/or drugged driving.
Often, a police officer uses a traffic violation to stop a driver who is suspected of DUI. Unfortunately, a DUI investigation can begin with a minor traffic violation such as not following Georgia’s headlight requirement. This means you can be pulled over for not displaying your headlights while operating a motor vehicle.
Atlanta’s Headlight Requirement Involves Displaying Headlights During Specific Hours
Atlanta’s headlight requirement falls under Georgia traffic law O.C.G.A. 40-8-20. Every time a driver operates a motor vehicle must turn on their headlights:
- A half-hour after sunset to half-hour prior to the sun rising
- While it is raining
- Any time the driver does not have sufficient visibility to see other drivers and pedestrians on the roadways at least 500 feet ahead
You can Get into Legal Trouble if There is Enough Light on an Atlanta Street to See Vehicles and Pedestrians are at Least 500 Feet Away
The law does not take into consideration if streets were well lit at the time a driver is stopped for violating the headlights requirement. Streetlights could provide enough illumination for the driver to see clearly. However, a police officer can still stop driving for not displaying headlights during the specific times indicated.
The headlights requirement does apply to parking lots and fully well-light areas. Yes, you still have to display your vehicle’s headlights in those circumstances.
Many Headlight Requirement Violations Happen in the Downtown Atlanta Area and with Certain Vehicles
In Atlanta, many drivers are stopped in the downtown Atlanta area. This typically happens because the area has enough light to visible see pedestrians and drivers clearly. So some drivers may forget to turn on their headlights or not realize they do not have them displayed.
Another reason why a driver is pulled over by police for a headlights violation is because of the automatic headlight feature in most vehicles. Drivers with this automatic feature often assume their vehicle will automatically turn on the headlights when necessary. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and a violation may occur.
Penalties Violating Headlights Requirement in the Atlanta Area
Atlanta does not give drivers a free pass regarding not displaying headlights. Penalties the headlights requirement may result in points against a person’s driving record. If you were pulled over by police for violating the headlight requirement, you face a possible fine and three points on your driver’s license.
Possible Punishment for Violating the Headlight Requirement in Atlanta
The Georgia Point System ranges from two to six points. Any driver with 15 points on their driving record within a 2-year period, or 24 months, will their license suspended. If a driver is under 18-years-old, it only takes four points in one year, or 12-month period for a license to be suspended.
Headlight Violation and DUI in Atlanta
The police may stop a driver for a minor traffic violation like a headlight violation, but a criminal charge under O.C.G.A 40-6-391 may also occur. O.C.G. 40-6-391 is the criminal code for DUI. It prohibits operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. What many drivers do not know is that you do not have to be driving to incur a DUI charge. For instance, you could be sitting in the driver’s seat and be accused of DUI.
When an individual is arrested for DUI and it is their first offense, some things happen immediately. For instance, license suspension immediately occurs. Once a driver’s license is suspended for suspected DUI, a driver has 10 days to file an appeal of the suspension. This hearing is separate from the criminal case. Failure to appeal the license suspension will cause driving privileges for up to one year. This means no driving in Atlanta, Georgia or anywhere in the country.
Common First-Time DUI Penalties in Atlanta
A first-time offender can face a minimum of 24 hours in jail. The maximum time in jail is up to one year. Most of the time, a judge will allow a first-time DUI offender to serve probation instead of a jail sentence.
This is required by Georgia law. If convicted, fines and court costs are also included. The fines and court cost may total to $1,000.
By law, an individual convicted must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community service and attend DUI school. Other common penalties for a first-time DUI charge is:
- Mandatory treatment for substance abuse
- Drug and alcohol counseling
- 12 months of probation
Remember, these are only penalties for anyone convicted of DUI. A criminal DUI charge is not a conviction. Hire a lawyer from Yeargan & Kert, LLC to help you beat your charges.
Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC to Fight Your Headlight Requirement Violation in Atlanta
Getting pulled over for a traffic violation can be scary. What is even scary is when that traffic violation results in a DUI charge. If you were pulled over for headlight requirement violation and it resulted in a DUI charge, contact us immediately.
At Yeargan & Kert, LLC, we are dedicated to fighting your DUI charge. Everyone in our office, from receptionists to our attorneys have served as prosecutors, law enforcement officers or served in the military prior to fighting for our clients’ freedom. We understand what it takes to fight to build a case and successfully defend our clients.
We are experienced Atlanta DUI attorneys who know what it takes to successfully defend individuals accused of DUI. We also defend clients who are fighting to avoid a license suspension and fighting traffic tickets. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC immediately for a free consultation.