The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office has recently announced the implementation of a campaign against texting and driving, that will include undercover operations to ticket violators. This is not the first time a police department has put their resources into conducting covert operations for texting and driving. The Marietta Police Department in 2015 utilized under-cover officers dressed as construction workers to ticket distracting driver offenders.
According to Forsyth County officials, they have seen a recent spike in fatalities related to car accidents; so this undercover operation comes as no surprise. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
O.C.G.A 40-6-241.2 prohibits wireless communications which include reading and writing a text message, an email or any internet use while driving.
First, texting and driving does not necessarily mean in the literal sense. Distracted driving can also land you a citation. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snap Chat are all included in the umbrella of distracted driving.
Secondly, a driver can be cited for distracted driving whether the vehicle is physically in motion or not. The statute only requires that a driver is in control of the vehicle. Therefore, while texting in a parked car does not constitute a violation, texting or Facebooking at a red light or stopped in traffic still constitutes distracted driving.
Texting and Driving is used many times as the predicate offense for a more serious offense. This means a stop for texting and driving can lead to an investigation into other matters such a DUI arrest. Once a vehicle is stopped for a violation, the Officers can then further investigate other criminal activity, such as the possession of drugs. This is how police officers use a "K9 Officer" to smell around the car for drugs.
Many arrests for DUI, drug possession and Minor in Possession begin with a violation for distracted driving or texting and driving. If you or a family member has been stopped for texting and driving and the stop resulted in additional charges, hope is not lost. Police officers make mistakes. They do not automatically have the right to search your car. It is vital to hire a Georgia Criminal Defense attorney to investigate and explore every possible defense.
The penalty for texting and driving in Georgia is a $150 fine and 1 point on the driver's motor vehicle report. Drive responsibly; texting can wait.
If you have been cited for texting and driving and it results in a DUI Arrest, call Forsyth County DUI Lawyer Richard Lawson today. For more information about Georgia DUI Penalties, check back regularly.