If you have received a traffic ticket or been arrested for a traffic violation, or charged with a criminal offense, you will be given a date to appear in court. Failing to show up for the hearing or forgetting to pay the ticket carries severe consequences.
In most instances, you may choose to either pay your ticket before your court date or attend the court appearance notated on your citation. Many courts now have online ticket payment options or allow people to pay via mail. On a side note, our Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorneys never advise you just to pay a ticket. Contact us to see how we can help you achieve a better outcome in your case.
That being said, there are two categories of citations that require a mandatory court appearance in Georgia:
Which Georgia Traffic Citations Require a Court Appearance?
The first category of traffic tickets that require a court appearance are the “serious traffic offenses.” Serious is defined by the fact that a person can be sentenced to more than just a fine or may have his or her license suspended. Such offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence
- Possession of marijuana
- Aggressive driving
- Driving while having a suspended license
- Fleeing or attempting to elude
- Hit and run
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Vehicular Homicide
- Illegal Passing of a school bus
The second category of traffic tickets that require a court appearance involve drivers under the age of 21. The reason young drivers must appear in court is that almost all traffic tickets have the potential to suspend their driver's license.
Additionally, many courts will not allow a young driver to pay their citation because it can affect the insurance rates of an entire family. As a result, many courts have a policy of requiring a parent to attend court, unless the young driver can show that he or she is not covered by their parent's automobile insurance.
In any event, failure to pay your citation or appear in court will result in a failure to appear (FTA) and license suspension. Additionally, many courts will issue a warrant for your arrest when you fail to appear.
How Can an Attorney Help With My Traffic Ticket?
Many people make the mistake of thinking a lawyer is unable to help if they, in fact, committed the traffic violation. That is a myth. Many times, a Georgia Traffic Attorney can help get a ticket reduced to a “non-reportable” offense. In that event, you will still pay a fine but the citation will not be reported on your motor vehicle report (MVR). Sometimes we can do this without you ever having to go to court. This is especially beneficial for people who live out of state.
Can I Pay the Fine After I Have Missed my Court Date?
No. Once you fail to appear, you lose the option to pay the fine. If the judge has issued a bench warrant, you must appear before the judge before you can pay (or have our office appear for you). The judge may also impose a fine for not appearing. If you can show an acceptable reason for why you missed court, the judge may waive the penalties.
If you have been given a traffic ticket, you need the assistance of a Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyer. We have helped thousands of people with their citations; contact us now for a free case evaluation.