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Life in the Fast Lane page

 

Let’s face it; virtually everyone speeds, at least in this state. It’s a fast paced world and most of us are just trying to keep up. But is their a tolerance limit to how fast you can actually speed and routinely still get away with it? In the state of Georgia, the answer is YES!

In the state of Georgia there are 2 categories of law enforcement officers and it is critical to understand the differences. Those categories are:

  1. the Georgia State Patrol Troopers
     
  1. the local officers (which includes all city, county, sheriff deputies, and campus or college university officers). Basically every officer in the state of Georgia except the GSP would fall into this 2nd category.

Georgia law under Georgia code prohibits any city, county, sheriff deputies or college officers (your local officers) from issuing speeding citations based on the use of a speed detection device unless the driver is accused of exceeding the posted speed limit by 11 MPH or greater.

40-14-8.
(a) No county, city, or campus officer shall be allowed to make a case based on the use of any speed detection device, unless the speed of the vehicle exceeds the posted speed limit by more than ten miles per hour

(b) The limitations contained in subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply in properly marked school zones one hour before, during, and one hour after the normal hours of school operation,

Georgia law defines speed detection devices as radar, laser and VASCAR type devices. So unless you are exceeding the posted speed limit by 11 MPH or greater, none of the local officers can write you a speeding ticket based on a speed allegedly obtained by a speed detection device.

40-14-1
(4) 'Speed detection device' means, unless otherwise indicated, that particular device designed to measure the speed or velocity of a motor vehicle and marketed under the name 'Vascar' or any similar device operating under the same or similar principle and any devices for the measurement of speed or velocity based upon the Doppler principle of radar or the speed timing principle of laser.

IMPORTANT EXCEPTIONS to “local” officers

  • This law does not stop any local officer from stopping you for doing 1-10 MPH over the posted speed limit with his radar or laser gun as long as he only issues you a WARNING. This would be a fishing expedition and would be legal.
     
  • This law does not stop any local officer from stopping you for doing 1-10 MPH over the posted limit by pacing you using his patrol car speedometer which itself is not by Georgia law definition a speed detection device.
     
  • This law does not stop any local officer from stopping you for doing 1-10 MPH over the posted limit in a properly marked school zone during school hours.
     

Since virtually all laser and radar guns come from the factory with a published +/- 1 MPH accuracy rating, it would be very easy for anyone charged with doing 11 MPH over the posted limit by a local officer to argue that the error of the unit should favor them and at 10 MPH the citation should never have been issued in the first place. As such local officers almost never issue 11 MPH over the limit tickets, and to give themselves some buffer in court, they almost always start writing tickets at 13 MPH over the posted limit to negate any possible accuracy argument.

As such, local officers almost never issue tickets at speeds less than 13 MPH over the posted limit. So as you can see, your chances of ever getting a speeding ticket for less than 13 MPH over the limit by the locals are pretty small.

IMPORTANT EXCEPTIONS to the Georgia State Patrol Troopers

  • The Georgia State Patrol Troopers are not bound by any legal requirements restricting them to any speed in which they may issue a speeding citation because the GSP are state officers and if you read the code section carefully, you will notice state officers are not mentioned.
     
  • Technically a GSP Trooper could issue you a ticket for doing just 1 (one) MPH over the posted limit and I am sure it has happened though I have never heard of such. But let me tell you why that will never happen to you.

Georgia law prescribes the financial penalty for first time speeding offenders at differing brackets of incremental punishment.
 

40-6-1.
(1) By five miles per hour or less shall be no dollars;
(2) By more than five but not more than ten miles per hour shall not exceed $25.00;
(3) By more than ten but not more than 14 miles per hour shall not exceed $100.00;
(4) By more than 14 but less than 19 miles per hour shall not exceed $125.00;
(5) By 19 or more but less than 24 miles per hour shall not exceed $150.00; or
(6) By 24 or more but less than 34 miles per hour shall not exceed $500.00.

As you can see the financial penalty for 1-5 MPH over the posted speed limit is a whopping 0 dollars, that’s correct zero dollars. It won’t happen, “because there is just no money in it.” (Wyatt Earp 1885)

Think about it. For speeds of 6-10 MPH over the posted limit the base fine is only 25 dollars. Not a lot of money to be made there either. But the real money starts at the 11 MPH and up brackets and there are as many people as the GSP could possibly want to ticket driving at those speeds that generate the bigger fines. Thus there is very little interest in the GSP in tracking down speeders in the 1-5 and 6-10 MPH punishment brackets.

As such, the GSP issues some but very few citations for speeds of 10 MPH or less over the posted limit. Financially, its just not worth the time. But keep in mind that legally, the GSP can do it where the locals cannot.

So as you can now see, as long as you keep your cruising speed at 9 MPH or less over the posted speed limit, you can cruise along all day long breaking the law and the chances of ever getting stopped by the locals or the GSP are so remote it doesn’t even factor into a mathematical equation. Now you know why!

 

 

   

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