Having a clean name with no negative record may be more important than you think. It may seem obvious that a felony or violent crime on your record can interfere with your life in many ways, including the very real potential for placing you under an immediate cloud of suspicion during any future interactions with law enforcement.
However, even lesser offenses, such as misdemeanors and traffic violations, can come back to haunt you at certain times. Traffic violations, for example, may seem inconsequential, but having certain convictions on your record may jeopardize your chances for jobs, make your insurance premiums too high to afford, or even interfere with your chances in a child custody dispute.
Get the point?
If you have a lead foot, a tendency to become aggressive behind the wheel or a habit of gliding through stop signs, you are at risk of getting a ticket that could not only cost you money in fines but add points to your license. Georgia, like many other states, designates between two and six points for each type of traffic violation. If you acquire 15 points within two years, the state will suspend your license. Point values for common violations include these:
- 1 point for texting while driving
- 2 points for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle
- 3 points for running a red light
- 4 points for reckless driving
- 6 points for passing a school bus that has stopped to load or unload students
- 6 points for speeding faster than 33 mph over the limit
Points add up quickly, and most remain on your record for two years from the offense, though some stay longer. If you are a habitual speeder, it may take no time at all to rack up 15 points and face a license suspension. This may result in having to bum rides from family and friends or rely on public transportation to get to your job.
You may have no plans to look for a job that requires security clearance or a job that requires driving, and you may not see a child custody battle in your future. However, you never know what life will throw your way. One way to be ready for these and other possibilities is to keep your record as clean as possible and to seek legal advice immediately if you face any charges, no matter how minor.