Life is hectic. A court date can be easy to miss between work, family, social obligations, and unforeseen disruptions. However busy one finds themselves, missing any court date can result in serious consequences.

If you miss a court date, a judge will usually move quickly to issue a Failure to Appear (“FTA”) order which can result in the suspension of your license, a bench warrant for your arrest, and jail or fines. An experienced McDonough failure to appear lawyer may be able to clear up your FTA and your underlying offense. Additionally, our skilled criminal defense attorneys could help you prepare for court and explain your charges.

Consequences for Failing to Appear

When someone fails to appear in court for a traffic citation or criminal offense, the judge may issue a warrant for their arrest and transmit the driver’s license information to the Department of Driver Services for a license suspension. As noted in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, §17-7-90, a bench warrant may be issued for one’s arrest when they fail to appear in court after:

  • Receipt of notice of the court date in open court
  • A notice was mailed to the person’s last known address containing the time and place to appear in court
  • One is notified of the impending court date personally in writing by a court official or officer of the court

Once the bench warrant is issued, law enforcement is notified. If someone is pulled over for speeding and has an active bench warrant, they can be arrested and jailed until bail is posted.

License Suspension

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §40-5-56, when someone misses a court appearance for a traffic violation they could have their license suspended. Traffic citations are required to include this language informing drivers of this provision which is deemed sufficient notice of suspension. When someone continues to drive following a suspension, they could be convicted of driving with a suspended license. Driving on a suspended license can result in a $1,000 fine, two days in jail and up to 12 months on probation, along with an additional license suspension of six months.

Jail Time or Fine for Failure to Appear

As stated in O.C.G.A. §40-13-63, the penalty for someone who fails to appear in court according to the citation or complaint is an offense that is punished by a fine of $200 or less or by jail time for a period not exceeding three days. A McDonough attorney who understands all the legal ramifications that accompany a failure to appear charge may help someone avoid these severe consequences.

Resolving a Failure to Appear Charge

It is important to note that it is possible to resolve an FTA. A person remains in FTA status until applicable fines are paid, and a judge resolves the matter via a hearing where the judge reviews the charge. A judge may consider all mitigating circumstances if the defendant can prove that their situation kept them from making their court appearance. These circumstances may include hospitalization or imprisonment at the time. A qualified McDonough lawyer who has dealt with failure to appear hearings could help someone resolve their charges.

Call a McDonough Failure to Appear Attorney Today

Whether you missed your court date by mistake or on purpose, a seasoned McDonough failure to appear lawyer may be your best option in resolving your charges. The alternative is license suspension and arrest, which is not only stressful, but can lead to professional or personal implications.

Be proactive and contact a McDonough failure to appear lawyer today. Waiting may lead to an unnecessary arrest. Our team of legal professionals could help you examine your options, obtain a quick resolution, and avoid serious consequences.

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Carl Chapman