FAILURE TO APPEAR – TRAFFIC
Mark, an Atlanta resident, finished a week-long vacation along the sandy beaches of Destin, Florida. On the way home, Mark is pulled over in Thomas County, Georgia for speeding 19 miles over the posted speed limit. Much to Mark’s dismay, instead of receiving a citation and finishing his trip home, Mark is hauled off to the county jail. Puzzled and angry, Mark is told that he never paid a seatbelt ticket that he received four years ago. Not paying that seatbelt ticket resulted in the issuance of a bench-warrant for Mark’s arrest. Mark had now been driving on a suspended license for at least two years without knowledge that such a thing had occurred.
The above situation is one that is all too familiar to many residents of Georgia. People simply are not familiar with the consequences of failing to pay a traffic citation on time or at all.
APPEARANCE IN COURT
Every traffic citation issued in the state of Georgia is given a court date and time for which a Defendant can appear to contest the charges. This court date and time is usually located at the bottom of the traffic citation and is followed by the court name, address, and phone number of the court of jurisdiction. Many minor traffic citations can be paid without appearing for court; provided the citation is paid in advance of the scheduled court date. Others may require court appearance—or be to your best advantage to appear anyway. If you are uncertain of whether your traffic citation carries a mandatory court appearance, be sure and visit the court’s website or phone the clerk’s office.