Illegal Turns in Georgia
Hundreds of people every year receive tickets for illegal left turns or u turns. That is why it is important to understand when you can safely and legally make a left turn or u-turn without receiving a ticket. If you have received a ticket for making an illegal turn in Georgia, contact our Georgia Illegal Turn Lawyer. Our office has been practicing traffic ticket defense for over 25 years. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.
Illegal U Turns
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-121, it is illegal to make a U-turn in four situations in Georgia:
- Upon any curve;
- When approaching the crest of a grade where your vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of another vehicle approaching from either direction;
- Where the turn cannot be made safely and without interfering with other traffic; or
- Where a prohibition is posted.
Illegal Left Turn
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-120(a)(2),
The term "extreme left-hand lane" means the lane furthest to the left that is lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the turning vehicle. In the event of multiple lanes, the second extreme left-hand lane shall be the lane to the right of the extreme left-hand lane that is lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the turning vehicle. The third extreme left-hand lane shall be the lane to the right of the second extreme left-hand lane and so forth.
- The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the turning vehicle. Whenever practicable, the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection and so as to exit the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the turning vehicle on the roadway being entered.
- In the event of multiple left turn lanes, the driver of a vehicle turning left shall exit the intersection in the same relative travel lane as the vehicle entered the intersection. If the vehicle is in the second extreme left-hand lane entering the intersection, the vehicle shall exit the intersection in the second extreme left-hand lane. Where there are multiple lanes of travel in the same direction safe for travel, a vehicle shall not be permitted to make a lane change once the intersection has been entered.
In the Georgia Driver's License Manual, instructions are given on how to make a left turn at an intersection. According to the Department of Driver Services, drivers should yield the right of way to all traffic headed in the opposite direction. Then proceed carefully in making the left turn.
However, even if it is safe to make a left turn, if there is a sign or traffic control device that prohibits making a left turn, drivers will have made an illegal left turn if they violate those signs.
Penalty for Illegal Turns in Georgia
Minor traffic violations in Georgia are charged as misdemeanor offenses. This means the penalty could be a fine up to $1,000, jail time up to one year, or both.
The standard punishment for an illegal U-turn or left turn charge is a fine with the possibility of three points being added to your driving record. Having points added to your license can be very expensive. It can result in your insurance premiums being increased or even being dropped by your insurance provider. For drivers under 21 years of age, an accumulation of 4 or more points on your license will result in a license suspension. For drivers over 21, an accumulation of 15 points or more will result in a license suspension.
However, if the U-turn or left turn resulted in an accident, then you could be subject to civil liability for the damages that occurred. Some examples include:
- If there was a sign stating the turn was prohibited and you proceeded anyways and were hit from behind, it is likely that the accident will be determined to be your fault. Therefore, you will be responsible for any damages from the wreck.
- If you made a U-turn on a curve or where another vehicle was unable to see you, then you will likely be at fault for the accident and have to pay any damages that arose from the crash.
In addition, making an illegal u-turn or illegal left turn could give an officer a reason to pull you over. Then once pulled over, the officer has the ability to conduct an investigation and this could lead to more charges including DUI or possession or marijuana.
Most people consider traffic violations to be trivial offenses, but they can result in substantial penalties. Do not make a mistake and just pay the ticket. Contact our Georgia Traffic Lawyers now to discuss your case.
Defenses to Illegal Turns in Georgia
The sign was unreadable or missing: If you made a U-turn or left turn at an intersection where the sign was missing, or it was unreadable, that would be an appropriate defense. Evidence will be needed demonstrating that the condition of the sign or that one was not there in order to be successful. One of our Georgia Traffic Attorneys could assist with this defense.
It was made in an emergency situation: If you made a left turn or u-turn because your car was breaking down, that might be a defense. While the best option would be to pull off to the side of the road, if the most reasonable choice was to turn, a judge may take that into consideration
Mistake: If the officer pulled over the wrong vehicle or you were improperly stopped, any evidence supporting this would be greatly beneficial to your case.
The turn was made in order to avoid an accident: While you will be still charged with an illegal U-turn or illegal left turn, it could lead to a lower fine or no points off your license.
Contact Our Georgia Illegal Turn Attorneys Today
If you have received a ticket for illegal turn or DUI in connection with an illegal turn in Georgia, contact our attorneys today. Our office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call.