Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Georgia Driver Hit with $1.4 Million Fine for Speeding at 90 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone

 Georgia Driver Hit with $1.4 Million Fine for Speeding at 90 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone

A Georgia resident faced an astonishing $1.4 million ticket last month after being pulled over for speeding on a freeway. Connor Cato was driving through Savannah on September 2 when he was caught going 90 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone by the Georgia State Patrol.

Anticipating a 'super speeder' ticket due to exceeding the speed limit by 35 miles, Cato was surprised by the excessively high fine, far beyond the usual $1,000 maximum. Suspecting a mistake, he contacted the court, only to be informed that he must either pay the astronomical amount or appear in court on December 21 at 1:30 pm.

According to Cato, the court representative stated, '"$1.4 million," the lady told me on the phone. I said, "This might be a typo," and she said, "No, sir, you either pay the amount on the ticket or you come to court on December 21 at 1.30 pm."'

Later, Cato discovered that the exorbitant $1.4 million fine was merely a placeholder generated by e-citation software used by the local Recorder’s Court for 'super speeders.' The actual fine would be determined by a judge during Cato's mandatory court appearance.

Joshua Peacock, a spokesperson for Savannah’s city government, clarified that the intention was not to intimidate individuals into court. He explained, 'The programmers who designed the software used the largest number possible because super speeder tickets are a mandatory court appearance and do not have a fine amount attached to them when issued by police.'

Although the city has employed this system since 2017, they acknowledge the need to adjust the placeholder language to prevent confusion. Criminal defense attorney Sneh Patel expressed astonishment at the initial fine, stating that he had never encountered such a high amount for a misdemeanor traffic violation.

In Georgia, misdemeanor traffic violation fines cannot exceed $1,000, along with state-mandated costs. Patel emphasized that even for a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature, the fine would typically be $5,000. He added that bond amounts exceeding $5,000 are usually reserved for more serious offenses, such as drug trafficking, murder, aggravated assault, or for individuals expected to evade their upcoming court date.

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