Everything You Wanted to Know About Illegal U-Turns in Georgia:
There are numerous laws that govern driving vehicles. Adhering to the speed limit, making sure the vehicle passes emissions, driving with a valid license, and the list goes on and on. Another rule for drivers is when to make a U-turn appropriately. People constantly miss their turns and are required to make a U-turn to satisfy their GPS; sometimes even in places where U-turns are not permitted. There are four areas in which conducting a U-turn is illegal, and you could receive a ticket. If you do receive a ticket for making an illegal U-turn, contact the Law Office of Richard Lawson and his team of Georgia Traffic Attorneys. They will work with you in hopes of helping you receive a lower fine or no points off your license.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-121 states U-turns should not be conducted:
- Upon any curve;
- Upon the approach to or near the crest of a grade where such vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of another vehicle approaching from either direction;
- Where such turn cannot be made safely and without interfering with other traffic; or
- Where a prohibition is posted.
Laws regulating U-turns were created to protect the driver making the turn as well as everyone else on the road.
Consequences of Being Charged with Illegal U-Turn:
The penalty for making an illegal U-turn is a fine with the possibility of three points being added to your driving record. The consequences of having points added to your license can be very costly. Points on your license could lead to higher insurance premiums or cause you to be dropped by your current insurance provider. Further, your license could be suspended or revoked after so many points are accumulated. Finally, it could cost hundreds of dollars to get your license reinstated after a suspension. Therefore, while some people consider traffic violations to be trivial offenses; they could result in substantial penalties.
In addition to paying a fine or receiving points on your license, you could also be subject to civil liability if your actions resulted in an accident. There are numerous ways accidents occur when making a U-turn and you could be liable for damages that have occurred. Some examples include:
- If you were making a U-turn in an area where U-turns were prohibited, and you were hit from behind, it is likely that the wreck will be determined to be your fault. Further, this means you would be responsible for any damages arising from the accident.
- If you made a U-turn on a curve or where another vehicle could not see you then you will likely be at fault for the wreck and may have to pay damages as well.
Defenses to Illegal U-Turns
If you have been charged with an illegal U-turn, there are some defenses at your disposal. It is important to have a Lawyer who is knowledgeable in traffic violations and is prepared to formulate the best defense possible for your case. Some arguments that could be applied to your case include but are not limited to:
- If you were improperly stopped or you were not the vehicle that made the illegal U-turn, any evidence supporting this will be largely beneficial to your case. Your Attorney can use this information to get the charges dropped.
- If you were at an intersection where U-turns are not permitted but the sign was missing or unreadable so that you were unaware that U-turns were not permitted, that would be a sufficient defense.
- If you made a U-turn to try and avoid getting hit or causing an accident, then a judge may take this into consideration. While it may not result in the charge being dropped, it could lead to a lower fine or no points off your license.
- Making a U-turn for an emergency purpose such as your car breaking down may be an appropriate defense. Although it would be much more understandable to pull off onto the side of the road that you are traveling down, if your only reasonable option was to make a U-turn, then the Court will take that into consideration.
Furthermore, some defenses will not be accepted. This include but are not limited to:
- Being mistaken as to whether a U-turn was permitted or not will not be a satisfactory defense to a charge of an illegal U-turn. You are required to be aware of your surroundings including the areas where you are and are not allowed to perform a U-turn.
- Arguing that no one was injured in your improper U-turn will also not be an acceptable argument. It does not matter whether anyone was harmed; the only requirement is that you did an improper turn.
- Another argument that is not an appropriate defense is telling a sympathetic story. While a judge may take your situation into consideration, it is likely that the charge will not be dropped.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard Lawson today to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly experienced Georgia Traffic Lawyers. Your Attorney will investigate all the details surrounding your case and evaluate your options. They will be available all the time to you – even nights and weekends – because your case is important. Don't wait, call today and schedule a free consultation.