Posted by Jim Yeargan in Jim's Blog on June 27, 2018
On the surface, receiving a traffic citation is a fast, but stressful process. The police officer who stopped you verifies your identity using your driver’s license, checks your vehicle registration, and asks you to sign the citation.
What some fail to realize is that signing your citation is a promise to appear in court. Though many lesser traffic violations give drivers the option of paying their fine online and never appearing in court, there are many occasions in which the driver must attend court.
Knowing why you must attend your traffic hearing and what the consequences are if you fail to appear may help you understand how important mandatory traffic hearings are.
What is Mandatory Appearance?
At times a police officer will indicate on your traffic ticket that you must appear in court. The date and time of your traffic court date is included on the citation and you are given a copy of the citation for your records.
Giving you the citation ensures that you are aware of when your court date is and where you are expected to present yourself. Mandatory appearance is usually determined by the type of citation you are receiving and may be influenced by the number of citations you have received over a given period of time.
Other Reasons to Appear
The majority of the time a person receives a traffic ticket for an offense such as a taillight issue or not wearing a seatbelt, the driver is given the option of resolving the citation prior to the court date.
Paying a citation online, at the courthouse, or by mail reduces the caseload for your local traffic court and makes it easier to resolve minor traffic violations. However, if you are planning on fighting the charges or you are unable to make payment before the court date, then you must appear on the given date to answer the charges.
Penalties for Missing Your Traffic Hearing
If you forget about your traffic hearing or decide not to attend, you could face serious penalties. The traffic court may decide to suspend your driver’s license and even after you pay the fine, you will still need to work directly with the Department of Driver Services (DDS) to lift the suspension.
Some counties in Georgia do offer amnesty and additional court dates for those who missed their hearing, but failing to make an effort to resolve your case could lead to a warrant being issued, jail time, and additional fines.
Contact an Attorney
If you have failed to attend a mandatory court hearing, it is always a good idea to consult an attorney. Without a dedicated attorney, you could find yourself facing serious consequences if you attempt to resolve the situation on your own.
The team at Yeargan & Kert, LLC are prepared to provide you with the legal defense you need if you are facing the consequences of failing to attend a hearing. Our failure to appear attorneys work on your behalf to resolve your failure to appear. Contact us today to discuss your case and schedule an initial appointment.