2020 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 6 - Uniform Rules of the Road
Article 15 - Serious Traffic Offenses
§ 40-6-397. Aggressive Driving; Penalty

Universal Citation: GA Code § 40-6-397 (2020)
  1. A person commits the offense of aggressive driving when he or she operates any motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person, including without limitation violating Code Section 40-6-42, 40-6-48, 40-6-49, 40-6-123, 40-6-184, 40-6-312, or 40-6-390 with such intent.
  2. Any person convicted of aggressive driving shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(Code 1981, §40-6-397, enacted by Ga. L. 2001, p. 208, § 1-7.)

Law reviews.

- For annual survey of criminal law, see 56 Mercer L. Rev. 153 (2004).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Aggressive driving involves specific, intended victims.

- Trial court erred in quashing that part of the indictment that alleged the defendant committed the offense of aggressive driving against three passengers in the other automobile defendant chased, based on the defendant's argument that the offense involved the defendant's manner of driving and was unrelated to the individual occupants of the vehicle; rather, the offense of "aggressive driving" involved specific, intended victims, and, thus, the state was permitted to attempt to prove that the defendant, through the defendant's aggressive driving, targeted not only the other automobile's driver, but also the individual passenger's as well. State v. Burrell, 263 Ga. App. 207, 587 S.E.2d 298 (2003).

Reckless conduct conviction no bar to aggressive driving conviction.

- Defendant's previous conviction for reckless conduct under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-60 did not bar later conviction for aggressive driving under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-397 when both convictions arose out of the same incident. A conviction for aggressive driving did not require proof of fact that the defendant endangered the bodily safety of the other driver and the other driver's family, while reckless conduct conviction did not require proof of fact that the defendant drove with intent to annoy, harass, intimidate, and injure another; thus, each crime required proof of fact that the other did not, so neither offense was included in the other so as to violate the substantive bar against double jeopardy of O.C.G.A. § 16-1-7. Winn v. State, 291 Ga. App. 16, 660 S.E.2d 883 (2008).

Evidence sufficient for conviction.

- Trial court was authorized to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offense of aggressive driving when the defendant braked suddenly, causing the car following the defendant to brake also, which caused the third car in line to collide with the car second in line; the evidence also showed that the defendant knew that the driver of the second car was behind the defendant, the passengers in the defendant's car yelled obscenities at the driver of the second car and made obscene gestures toward the second driver, and thereafter, the defendant braked suddenly after telling the defendant's passengers to "watch this." In the Interest of A.M.A., 266 Ga. App. 273, 596 S.E.2d 756 (2004).

Aggressive driving conviction was upheld based on an officer's testimony that the defendant rudely tailgated the officer and became very agitated that the officer was driving slowly. Frasard v. State, 278 Ga. App. 352, 629 S.E.2d 53 (2006), overruled on other grounds by McClure v. State, 306 Ga. 856, 834 S.E.2d 96 (2019).

Evidence that the defendant struck a truck four times in rapid succession and then struck the truck again as the defendant fled the scene was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction for aggressive driving. Simmons v. State, 321 Ga. App. 743, 743 S.E.2d 434 (2013).

Insufficient evidence for conviction.

- Defendant's convictions for terroristic acts, aggressive driving, and criminal trespass were reversed on appeal since the only evidence identifying the defendant as the perpetrator of a roadway situation wherein the victim was tailgated and an object was thrown at the victim's car, causing a dent, was a police officer's hearsay testimony that the officer spoke to the defendant's mother, who indicated that the defendant had not been home, and the hearsay statement of the defendant admitting to the tailgating and honking; this evidence was inadmissible hearsay and therefore, relying on the remaining evidence, insufficient evidence existed to support the defendant's convictions. Patterson v. State, 287 Ga. App. 100, 650 S.E.2d 770 (2007).

Challenge rendered moot by acquittal.

- In a defendant's trial for aggressive driving and other charges arising out of a road rage incident, the defendant's claim that the trial court erred by omitting a pronoun representing the gender of a victim when charging the jury on the offense of aggressive driving was moot in light of the jury's acquittal of the defendant on that charge. Adams v. State, 282 Ga. App. 819, 640 S.E.2d 329 (2006).

Cited in State v. Ogilvie, 292 Ga. 6, 734 S.E.2d 50 (2012).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting.

- Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints of persons charged with a violation of O.C.G.A § 40-6-397. 2001 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2001-11.

CHAPTER 7 OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

Sec.

  • 40-7-1. Short title.
  • 40-7-2. Declaration of policy.
  • 40-7-3. "Off-road vehicle" defined.
  • 40-7-4. Operating restrictions; "perennial stream" defined.
  • 40-7-5. Authority to regulate time periods and to establish zones of use.
  • 40-7-6. Enforcement and penalties.
Cross references.

- Jurisdiction to try certain cases involving operation of off-road vehicle, § 15-9-30.8.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- Accidents involving negligence in operation of snowmobile, skimobile, or similar vehicle, 42 A.L.R.3d 1422.

Operation or use of vehicle outside scope of permission as rendering it uninsured within meaning of uninsured motorist coverage, 17 A.L.R.4th 1322.

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