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New traffic bureau means cheaper financial penalty for tickets

Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 9:24 PM
Last updated Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 12:36 AM
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After the first of the year, getting a traffic ticket in Augusta could be less painful and cheaper for people who can pay their tickets off early.



After Jan. 1, the Richmond County Traffic Violations Bureau will open for business, said Richmond County State Court Judge Richard Slaby.

It will allow people who receive citations for minor traffic violations, such as speeding or improper lane change, to skip a court appearance and pay off their tickets there.

Because this saves the local court money through not having anyone from the solicitor’s or public defender’s offices involved in those cases, Slaby said he reduced the fines.

For example, a ticket for failure to yield has a base cost of $278 under the old system. If paid off through the Bureau, the base charge will be $175.

Although every traffic offense in Georgia is considered a criminal offense, the law allows for minor traffic offenses to be diverted from criminal court, Slaby said. In effect, establishing the Bureau will decriminalize all but the most serious of traffic offenses, he said.

After Jan. 1, traffic enforcement officers will have a sheet to hand out along with traffic citations. It explains the process of using the Bureau.

The clerk’s office will operate the Bureau, checking criminal histories and collecting fines that can be paid off in person at the office, by calling 866-339-0646 or online at augustaga.gov/trafficbureau. There will be a processing fee for using the phone and internet site.

Richmond County Sheriff’s Lt. Amelio Lamkin said officers are ready to go with the new system. It won’t cause any additional work for them, he said, but it could greatly reduce the amount of time officers have to spend in court waiting to address traffic citations they issue. They issued 1,900 to 2,500 before the new traffic division was set up. Lamkin estimated the number of citations has doubled now.

It is not unusual for 200 to 300 cases to be set for court on a single day, but only a few will actually result in trial, Slaby said.

The Bureau can take a load off the court dockets by providing a way for people who do not want to contest their tickets to dispose of their cases outside of a courtroom.

According to the study by the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Bureau could cut the case load of Richmond County State Court by a third.

Anyone who wishes to contest a traffic ticket may still do so, Slaby said.

People facing charges that can lead to the suspension of a license – such as driving under the influence or any offense by a person younger than 21 – must make a court appearance.

Slaby said that the Bureau will not accept partial payments so anyone who cannot pay a ticket in full also would have to make a court appearance.

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just an opinion
2123
Points
just an opinion 12/15/13 - 01:29 am
5
2

And why did it take SO LONG to figure out this better system?

Were the judges thinking the old way was best just because "that's the way they've always done it"?

dichotomy
26712
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dichotomy 12/15/13 - 01:34 pm
3
1

"And why did it take SO LONG

"And why did it take SO LONG to figure out this better system?"

The judges fear that a little efficiency might result in a need for FEWER judges. The whole legal system exists to employ lawyers and judges. It has little or nothing to do with justice and punishment.

Riverman1
70711
Points
Riverman1 12/16/13 - 10:15 am
4
1

So if you plead guilty you

So if you plead guilty you get off much cheaper than if you contest the ticket and are found guilty. Doesn't sound fair.

nocnoc
31055
Points
nocnoc 12/16/13 - 11:05 am
2
2

QUESTION

If the Traffic laws are about protecting the public and not $$$$.
Why not strictly enforce the traffic laws and take the points off until the license is voided.

With certain offenses immediately require the person to FULLY retest to get a new license allowing 1 time in a 3 to 5 year period.

The most serious certain offenses 10 year to live Driving permit BAN

Results
Safer streets,
and no REVENUE Incentive for Traffic stops.

JRC2024
6963
Points
JRC2024 12/16/13 - 11:43 am
0
3

And some think my service

And some think my service calls are high. I guess I need to adjust mine to match Richmond, Columbia and Aiken county fees. Sounds fair to me.

Sweet son
8258
Points
Sweet son 12/16/13 - 12:39 pm
2
2

Website same as Obamacare website!

Got this when I clicked on the link: "We're sorry, but there is not a web page matching your entry."

Good start Traffic Bureau! LOL!

grouse
1586
Points
grouse 12/16/13 - 01:04 pm
0
0

Cutting out the "middle man"

Unpublished

Cutting out the "middle man" encourages people not to challenge questionable stops, but no matter, they're going to lose in court anyway. I've seen people plead no contest; the points are dropped, but the (excessive) fine remains the same. Don't tell me it's not about money.

Little Lamb
40209
Points
Little Lamb 12/16/13 - 01:17 pm
4
1

Plea Deal

Riverman posted:

So if you plead guilty you get off much cheaper than if you contest the ticket and are found guilty. Doesn't sound fair.

Ask Ms. Katherine Heath about fair. She is the woman who ran a stop sign late at night out on a country road near Appling and was struck by another vehicle, causing a death. She hired hot-shot criminal defense attorney Pete Theodocion to help her. Theodocion had her plead not guilty and told her to remain calm and stoic in the courtroom. After the jury found her guilty, Judge Michael Annis sentenced her to 20 years, and used as his justification "she did not demonstrate any emotion, any remorse in the courtroom." So much for Theodocion's advice.

She could have pleaded guilty to any charge and got less than 20 years for that traffic crash.

Little Lamb
40209
Points
Little Lamb 12/16/13 - 01:28 pm
4
1

Plea Deal

Likewise, knowing what he knows now, Scott Dean could have pleaded guilty to anything and got less than 20 years.

Michael Annis is brutal.

Many believe Scott Dean is innocent. In fact, many believe there was no crime committed in the Scott Dean case. 20 years for no crime. That's harsh.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

P.S. Scott Dean was also represented by Pete Theodocion.

Sweet son
8258
Points
Sweet son 12/16/13 - 03:37 pm
2
1

Theodocion? Sounds like a bad choice for an attorney or as he

would say "I take the tough cases." And, he still gets paid I guess.

KSManning
33
Points
KSManning 12/16/13 - 04:14 pm
0
3

Looks like the link works.

Just the website isn't available until January 1

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