2020 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 6 - Uniform Rules of the Road
Article 15 - Serious Traffic Offenses
§ 40-6-391.1. Entry and Acceptance of Plea of Nolo Contendere
- The decision to accept a plea of nolo contendere to a charge of violating Code Section 40-6-391 shall be at the sole discretion of the judge but, if such plea is accepted, the penalties provided for in subsection (c) of Code Section 40-6-391 shall be imposed; provided, however, that no such plea of nolo contendere shall be accepted if the person charged with violating Code Section 40-6-391 had an alcohol concentration of more than 0.15 at any time within three hours after driving or being in control of any moving vehicle from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in control ended.
- If the defendant has not been convicted of or had a plea of nolo contendere accepted to a charge of violating Code Section 40-6-391 within the previous five years and if the plea of nolo contendere shall be used as provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-63, no such plea shall be accepted unless, at a minimum, the following conditions are met:
- The defendant has filed a verified petition with the court requesting that such plea be accepted and setting forth the facts and special circumstances necessary to enable the judge to determine that accepting such plea is in the best interest of justice; and
- The judge has reviewed the defendant's driving records that are on file with the Department of Driver Services.
- The judge, as part of the record of the disposition of the charge, shall set forth, under seal of the court, his or her reasons for accepting the plea of nolo contendere.
- The record of the disposition of the case, including the ruling required in subsection (c) of this Code section, shall be forwarded to the Department of Driver Services within ten days after disposition.
- If a plea of nolo contendere is accepted under the conditions set forth in subsection (b) of this Code section, the defendant's driver's license shall be forwarded to the Department of Driver Services as provided in subsection (c) of Code Section 40-5-67.
(Code 1981, §40-6-391.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1983, p. 1000, § 13; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 40; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1154, § 8; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 5; Ga. L. 1991, p. 1886, § 9; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2564, § 12; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2785, § 25; Ga. L. 1994, p. 831, § 2; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1600, § 9; Ga. L. 1997, p. 760, § 24; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 5A-12; Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 18-16/HB 501.)Editor's notes.
- Ga. L. 1994, p. 1600, § 11, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the provisions of the Act shall apply only to cases arising out of arrests occurring on or after January 1, 1995, except that the provisions amending subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391.1, restricting the acceptance of a plea of nolo contendere to a charge of violating Code Section 40-6-391, and the provisions amending subsection (c) of Code Section 40-6-391, changing the criminal penalties for violations of the Code section, shall become effective July 1, 1994, and except that the provisions amending subsection (g) of Code Section 40-5-67.1, relating to the time for requesting a hearing on an administrative suspension, the stay of a suspension pending such hearing, and the early termination of an administrative suspension under certain conditions shall apply to cases pending on July 1, 1994.
Ga. L. 1997, p. 760, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Teen-age and Adult Driver Responsibility Act'."
Ga. L. 1997, p. 760, § 27, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the amendment made by the Act to this Code section shall apply to offenses committed on or after July 1, 1997, and shall not apply to offenses committed prior to that date.Law reviews.
- For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 203 (1997). For note on 1991 amendment of this Code section, see 8 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 129 (1992).JUDICIAL DECISIONS
Judge under no obligation to accept nolo contendere plea simply because the petition is acceptable on the petition's face. Robinson v. State, 173 Ga. App. 285, 326 S.E.2d 245 (1985).
Cited in Wessels v. State, 169 Ga. App. 246, 312 S.E.2d 361 (1983).
OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Time of applicability.
- Provisions of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391.1 which merely provide new trial procedures may be applied to all cases tried on or after September 1, 1983, regardless of when the violations occurred. All other provisions can be applied only to the defendants whose alleged illegal conduct occurred on or after September 1, 1983. 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U83-52.Selection of driver improvement school.
- Although O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391.1 requires that a judge who accepts a plea of nolo contendere must order the defendant to attend a driver improvement school certified by the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, the statute does not deprive the judge of all discretion to designate a particular driver improvement school so long as the designated school is chosen from among those certified. 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U83-68.