KINGSLAND – Under the Superspeeder law Gov. Sonny Perdue signed Tuesday, motorists ticketed for driving 75 mph or faster on two-lane roads and 85 mph or faster on four-lane roads would have $200 added onto their tickets.
While the super speeder fines will be consistent throughout Georgia, the starting point for the super speeder addition is tied to geography. And in Southeast Georgia, penalties for the same infraction can vary by nearly $1,000, depending on where the ticket is written.
For example, be sure you’re in the city limits of Darien if you get stopped for speeding in McIntosh County.
A ticket for driving 34 mph or faster over the speed limit in Darien will cost a motorist $575. But the same traffic infraction in McIntosh County outside the Darien city limits will cost a motorist $1,355.
McIntosh County Commissioner David Stevens said he could not explain the difference in ticket fees because the commission does not set fines for traffic violations.
The county benefits from the fines, however, because the revenue goes into the county’s general fund.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, local courts set the fines for traffic violations. The state has capped the maximum fine for any speeding violation at $1,000, not counting court costs and other administrative fees.
Camden County Sheriff Tommy Gregory said he didn’t know each municipality has the discretion to set fines for traffic violations.
In Camden County, anyone contesting a speeding ticket must appear in probate court if they are ticketed by a sheriff’s deputy or Georgia State Patrol trooper. Judge Martin Gillette said he and the chief Superior Court judge set the maximum fines.
The fines for traffic violations in Camden County were increased on Jan. 1. In some instances, Gillette said the fines were nearly doubled.
Gillette said he and other judges have discretion to reduce fines, depending on factors such as the motorist’s excuse for speeding and prior driving history.
The highest fine in Camden County is $500 for driving 100 mph or faster. A motorist driving 34 mph or more above the speed limit faces a maximum $372 fine – a $983 difference from McIntosh County for the same violation.
And in Kingsland, the top fine in $362 for driving 34 mph or faster over the limit. A city court employee said the City Council approved the fine schedule.
In Ware County, fines range from $35 for violations between 5 to 9 mph over the limit to $700 for speeds between 24 to 33 mph over the limit. Anyone caught driving faster than 34 mph above the limit faces a mandatory court appearance, officials in the county’s State Court said.
Article by Gordon Jackson (Jacksonville News)