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JD, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  Over 11 years in practice as a litigator ... civil and criminal
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On my way to work this week, I stopped at a gas station to

Customer Question

On my way to work this week, I stopped at a gas station to buy a diet coke. After I exited my car (I was standing but had not yet closed my car door), an officer pulled in off the street and turned on his lights. I thought to my self, "Looks like someone is getting a ticket." As I was moving to close my door, the officer was already out of his car and pointed at ME and begin to speak. I looked around, thinking he was speaking to someone behind me. It WAS in fact me he was talking to. He told me I ran a red light. Dumbfounded, I asked where. He told me the location, and I was shocked. I had made a right hand turn at a stop light in the location he mentioned, but to me running a red light was blasting straight through. He said I did not come to a complete stop when I turned.

I will not argue that I may have not come to a "complete" stop, but I definately did not "blast" through a red traffic signal. I know I definately slowed down, probably almost to a complete stop (at least to 1-2 mph) before turning right. It was 4am on a Tuesday morning. There was little traffic on the road.

The citation code on my ticket is 40.60.20, which cites the law when cameras are used as evidence for traffic signal moving violations. There is no traffic camera installed at the intersection where he says I "ran a light". Other violations in regard to traffic signals are discussed in section 40.60.21.

The officers jurisdiction is in the city of Smyrna, GA. The gas station in which he turned on his lights after he pulled in I believe is outside of city limits.

He also gave me a warning for having a license plate bracket installed on my car, which he says is illegal in Georgia. None of the bracket covers any information on my license plate. I asked him why about 75% of Georgia drivers also have license plate brackets on their cars if it is illegal. His reply was "They haven't talked to ME, yet".

I remained calm (and nice), signed the ticket, then I shook his hand and thanked him for making me aware of the license plate bracket law. However, I am still quite angry about the ticket itsself.

Am I wrong to doubt the reason for him pulling me over and attempt to go to court and explain the situation, or should I just pay the ticket? Thank you.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.

40-6-20(a) appears to the appropriate section for obeying a traffic-control device. 40-6-20(f) covers the camera monitored intersection and is specified as a civil violation only (as is the practice nationwide with camera monitored intersections). 40-6-21(a)(3)(B) states that you must come to a complete stop before "cautiously entering the intersection" to complete a right hand turn. It sounds as if the ticket would be valid.


While I see this as extremely strict in your situation, it appears the officer was technically within his rights to cite you. Further, an officer may pursue a violator (with or without blue lights) outside of his jurisdiction and cite an individual for a violation within his jurisdiction. What matters is where the violation occurred.


The license plate issue appears to be covered by 40-2-41. Obviously I have not seen your bracket, but unless it obstructed the information displayed on the plate or covered it with something other than a "colorless and transparent" material then I presume the officer's warning was misplaced. You may want to get a second opinion from another officer on your plate bracket before taking steps to remove or replace it.


Basically it sounds like this officer was being a jerk. The best approach would probably be going to court, admitting to everything you've stated and simply ask that the ticket not go on your record. I cannot imagine the traffic judge will not let you pay a small fine and dismiss the ticket.


Please reply if I can help further.



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Edited by JD on 3/18/2010 at 1:43 AM EST
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He was a TOTAL jerk. I see you are from Tennessee. So am I. GO VOLS! Im just going to pay the ticket, and not even go to court. It's not worth wasting my time. Thank you for your response!
Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.
Go Vols! Thanks!