Georgia has two types of speeding laws: "absolute limits" and a "basic speeding law." This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.
There is no trick to how Georgia's absolute speed limits (sometimes called "maximum speed limits") work: If the absolute speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you've violated the law. Unless otherwise posted, the absolute speed limits are:
On most other roadways, the maximum limit is 55 miles per hour.
In addition to absolute limits, Georgia's basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is "reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing." In other words, a driver must always drive at a safe speed.
What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, 55 miles per hour might be safe on a bright, sunny day. But if it's dark and the road is icy, going 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.
Most speeding violations are misdemeanors in Georgia. Generally, a misdemeanor is punishable by up to $1000 in fines and/or a maximum of 12 months in jail. But the penalties you'll actually face for a violation depend on the circumstances.
The cost of a speeding ticket in Georgia depends on where the violation occurred, the amount by which the motorist exceeded the speed limit, and the motorist's driving record. Generally, the maximum fines for a first speeding violation are:
Speeding violations in highway work zones—which are misdemeanors of a "high and aggravated nature"—carry $100 to $2,000 in fines and/or up to 12 months in jail.
For all speeding violations, the judge will impose various fees—in addition to the fine—that will substantially increase the final cost of the citation. And for anyone caught going at least 85 miles per hour (or at least 75 miles per hour on a two-lane roadway) there's a "super speeder" fee of $200 that's tacked onto the fine and other fees. Judges also have the option of ordering convicted motorists to complete a defensive driving course in addition to or in lieu of fines.
A speeding ticket involving driving at least 15 miles per hour over the limit will add two to six demerit points (depending on the amount by which the driver exceeded the limit) to the motorist's driving record.
Although a misdemeanor speeding conviction can theoretically land you in jail, it's pretty rare for this to actually happen.
In most areas of Georgia, you can pay a speeding ticket online, by phone, by mail, or in person. Generally, if you decide to pay a ticket, you can avoid having to go to traffic court.
But instead of admitting guilt and paying the fines, you may decide to fight your ticket. If you win, you won't have any of the consequences of a conviction.
The defenses that might work generally depend on how the officer measured the driver's speed (for instance, with Radar or LIDAR) and the specific circumstances of the case.
For example, a driver might be able to get a speeding ticket dismissed by pointing out in court that the device used by the officer to clock the speed wasn't in good working order.
Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation can lead to a "reckless driving" conviction. And if a speeding violation results in the death of another person, it's possible to be convicted of "vehicular homicide."