If you roll through a stop sign or run a red light, you will pay more than twice as much in court in Peachtree City as you will for doing the same thing in unincorporated Fayette County.
In fact, you will pay as much for a busted tail light as you will for running a red light or for speeding 20 miles over the limit in Peachtree City, according to an analysis by The Citizen of common traffic fines in several local jurisdictions.
The analysis shows that in all but one subcategory, Peachtree City far and away hits citizens in their wallets much harder — sometimes twice as hard — for common traffic violations than Fayetteville, Tyrone, Senoia or Fayette County.
The amounts listed below in the various categories, where applicable, are for a first offense. Fine amounts in categories such as driving under the influence (DUI) and driving with a suspended license, increase dramatically for additional offenses.
When compared across jurisdictions, fine amounts generally, but not exclusively, tend to be higher in proportion to the population of the jurisdiction. The general exception to that premise are fines issued by Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies in the unincorporated areas of Fayette County. Running a stop sign and running a traffic light are treated as equally serious infractions in all jurisdictions, though the fine amounts vary significantly by location. The fine in unincorporated Fayette carries a charge of $70. Tyrone charges $110 for the same infraction, followed by $110 in Tyrone, $114 in Senoia, $140 in Fayetteville and $160 in Peachtree City.
The tendency of the larger municipalities to charge higher fine amounts is also evident for those receiving a ticket for a headlight or tail light violation. Tyrone charges $68 for the offense compared to $114 for Senoia, $92 in Fayetteville and $160 in Peachtree City. The charge in unincorporated Fayette County is $56. When it comes to speeding in non-school zones, fines tend to increase in 5-10 mile increments. By way of example, speeding 11-15 miles over the limit in unincorporated Fayette brings a fine of $84 while speeding 16-20 miles over the limit will cost $126.
In Fayetteville, 11-14 miles over the limit will cost $140 with a speed of 15-19 miles over the limit coming in at $171.
And in Tyrone, 11-14 miles over the limit carries a $131 fine compared to the $145 it costs when the driver is going 15-23 miles over the limit.
Driving up to 15 miles per hour over the limit carries a $135 fine in Peachtree City and a $114 fine in Senoia. And the fine for 16-20 miles over the limit will cost the driver $160 in Peachtree City and $171 in Senoia. Driving even faster than these speeds will result in significantly higher fines in all jurisdictions. While a relatively low cost infraction, the fine amount for “no license on person” varies significantly across jurisdictions. Fayetteville charges $16 compared to $50 in Peachtree City, $26 in Tyrone, $12 in Senoia and no charge in unincorporated Fayette County provided the driver brings the license to the county clerk’s office for verification. The fine is dramatically higher in all jurisdictions if the person cannot produce a valid license.
The fine amount for no proof of insurance is similar across municipalities. The cost is $25 in Peachtree City, $40 in Tyrone, $12 in Senoia, $35 in unincorporated Fayette County and no charge in Fayetteville provided the driver can verify the policy at city court.
The fine increases tremendously if the driver has no insurance policy. The fine in unincorporated Fayette is $420 compared to $570 in Senoia, $705 in Fayetteville, $842 in Tyrone and $964 in Peachtree City.
There are a few categories of traffic offenses that carry very high fines. Among those are driving on a suspended license, reckless driving and DUI.
The fine for a suspended license will set the driver back $571 in Senoia, $700 in unincorporated Fayette, $833 in Fayetteville, $842 in Tyrone and $1,054 in Peachtree City. For a charge of reckless driving, Tyrone charges $425 compared to $513 in Fayetteville, $570 in Senoia and $1,327 in Peachtree City. The charge in unincorporated Fayette County is set by the state court judge.
And as for driving under the influence, even with the first offense fine it is just better to stay at home or get someone else to drive. Senoia charges $1,079 and Fayette County charges $1,221. The same offense will cost $1,230 in Fayetteville, $1,233 in Tyrone and $1,319 in Peachtree City. As a way of comparing the cost of infractions depending on the jurisdiction, The Citizen looked at the fine amounts for about a dozen of the more common traffic violations that show up on police reports. Some fine amounts tend to be higher in proportion to the population of the municipality in which the violation occurs. However, fine amounts in unincorporated Fayette County are generally lower than in the municipalities.
The jurisdictions checked for charges on traffic violations included Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone, Senoia and unincorporated Fayette County. Though located in Coweta County, Senoia was included in the survey due to its close proximity to Fayette County.