A Closer Look at Aggressive Driving Charges in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

Georgia is notorious for “aggressive drivers” - especially within the perimeter of Atlanta. Any driving that demonstrates selfish, risky, or unsafe behavior and displays a blatant disregard for other drivers and their safety is considered to be aggressive. If you've driven on I-85 South into the city of Atlanta, I-285 around the perimeter, or Georgia 400 at rush hour at any point in the past twenty years, you know what I'm referring to. It's also a common reason and a related offense for officers to initiate a DUI investigation.

But what actually constitutes aggressive driving in reference to breaking the law? 

Georgia law defines aggressive driving in Georgia as: “driving with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person, including without limitation violating Code Section 40-6-42 [overtaking and passing], 40-6-48 [improper lane change or usage], 40-6-49 [following too closely], 40-6-123 [failing to signal], 40-6-184 [driving too slowly], 40-6-312 [lane usage by motorcycles], or 40-6-390 [reckless driving] with such intent” (O.C.G.A. §40-6-397).

According to the statute, aggressive driving just needs to target another person - not just a driver. The aggressive driving could be directed at pedestrians or passengers in other vehicles or even passengers in the same vehicle as the aggressive driver. 

The law on aggressive driving is a relatively new law, and there are only a few reported cases. As you can see, the statute itself is vague and forces police officers to make subjective determinations regarding intentions and harassing driving behavior. 

That's why we see so many more charges of reckless driving in Georgia. Reckless driving does not require that the conduct be directed at any specific person, just a reckless disregard for all people or property. 

What are some examples of aggressive driving?

  • Changing lanes without a blinker or signal
  • Weaving in and out of lanes of traffic 
  • Passing in no-passing zones or shoulder lanes or emergency lanes
  • Forceful merging
  • Failing to yield 
  • Cutting other drivers off 
  • Speeding
  • Offensive or inappropriate gesturing or hand signals
  • Flashing headlights or high beams
  • Tailgating
  • Blaring horns inappropriately

What are the consequences?

If you are convicted of aggressive driving, you're guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. This means that the punishment could include a fine up to $5,000, jail time of up to 12 months, or both. 

An aggressive driving conviction will also add six points to your license. This could lead to a points suspension of your Georgia driver's license if you have accumulated fifteen or more points in a consecutive 24-month period. If you're a driver under 21 years old, any offense that is four points or more will suspend your Georgia driver's license for a six-month period. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with aggressive driving, a DUI, or both - you need the help of a Georgia DUI Lawyer. This offense is not a traffic ticket.  It is a serious misdemeanor offense that can result in potential time in jail as well as serious driving consequences. Contact us today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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