21st Apr 2014
People often receive traffic citations with the court date written by the issuing officer at the bottom. It is easy to set these tickets aside and forget about them. However, it is important that you put the court date in your calendar as soon as you receive the traffic ticket. A missed court date is very serious and can have a major impact on your life, even if the underlying offense is only a traffic violation.
When a defendant misses a court date, he or she has “failed to appear,” commonly abbreviated as FTA. If you are not in court at your regularly scheduled court date and time the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest based upon your FTA. If there is a bench warrant out for your arrest, you will be thrown in jail. The time it takes for you to get into court after you have been arrested depends on each jurisdiction, but can range from one day to over a week.
In addition to a bench warrant, your driver’s license will be suspended for FTA. Most citations note that failure to appear in court will result in the suspension of your driver’s license. When you miss a court date, your driver’s license will be suspended and you are not entitled to a hearing or any additional notice. Further, if you are pulled over and found to be driving on a suspended license, Georgia law requires 24 hours in jail. That means that you will likely be arrested on the spot for driving with a suspended license.
Once you have resolved the FTA you are eligible to get your driver’s license reinstated. However, there is a reinstatement fee of approximately $200.
If you have missed a court date, it is important that you contact a traffic attorney as soon as possible. There are ways to resolve the failure to appear that can keep your license from being suspended and a warrant being issued for your arrest. The procedure for resolving an FTA varies in each court, and it is important to have any attorney familiar with that court’s procedure. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your driver’s license has been suspended and/or a bench warrant for your arrest has been issued.
Atlanta traffic attorney Lindsay Reese regularly handles FTA cases throughout metro-Atlanta including: City of Atlanta Municipal Court; Fulton County State Court; Dekalb County State Court ; Dekalb County Recorder’s Court; City of Alpharetta Municipal Court; City of Milton Municipal Court; City of Doraville Municipal Court; City of Sandy Springs Municipal Court; City of Johns Creek Municipal Court; City of Dunwoody Municipal Court; City of Roswell Municipal Court; City of Avondale Estates Municipal Court; Gwinnett County State Court; Gwinnett County Recorder’s Court.