Georgia law allows for a court to issue a zero-point order in disposing of a traffic offense. This is an order which provides that the ticket will incur no points for a Georgia licensee. It adds a layer of work and documentation for the attorney handling the case and requires the completion of a defensive driving course by the individual.
Will It Benefit Non-Georgia Licensees?
No. It will have no effect on a driver licensed by a state other than Georgia. It will be transmitted as a guilty plea to the traffic charge. Since this can have negative consequences on a home-state license, it is best to look for other alternatives for a licensee from outside of Georgia.
Will it benefit Under-21 Georgia Drivers Facing 4-point or Greater Offenses?
An under-21 Georgia licensee is facing a license suspension if convicted of an offense assessable for 4 or more points. For years, DDS took the position that while a zero-point order would reduce the points assessed to the driver it did not change the points assessable. More recently, they have re-interpreted that provision and will, reportedly, recognize the zero point order and will not suspend the license. Personally, I usually look for other alternatives to a zero point order in this situation.
Should Over-21 Georgia Drivers Seek a Zero-Point Order?
The short answer is maybe. In some cases, it may be the best alternative. However, many courts allow for the negotiation of the offense or the speed on a traffic ticket. In some cases, that will not require the completion of a defensive driving course. In those cases, a reduction is a better approach.
One circumstance where the zero-point order can be of benefit is where the person has racked up a large number of points in a short period of time and a reduction cannot be avoided. In that circumstance, the zero-point order may be necessary to avoid a license suspension based on points.
While the zero-point order will remove points from the offense, it will leave the offense on your record. Some offenses could have negative consequences to your insurance or driver rating even if no points are associated with the offense.
The sole advantage afforded by a zero-point order is a discount of 20% on the base fine for the offense. However, that will not always offset the cost and time of the driver training required. In addition, the extra legal work will likely incur additional legal fees.