By Erin Gerstenzang

What are the immediate consequences of missing a traffic court date?

Discovering there’s a bench warrant out for your arrest because you’ve missed a court date in Atlanta Municipal Court can be daunting. This experience is even more distressing when you learn about it from a police officer during a minor traffic stop. However, knowing the process can empower you to resolve this issue, either independently or with the help of an attorney.

To begin with, it’s crucial to understand that if you miss your Traffic court appearance, the court won’t automatically assign a new date to resolve your citation. Instead, your case is marked as a Failure to Appear (FTA) and set aside, and it will remain dormant until you or your attorney address the FTA status.

Why is my license suspended?

FTAs can be detrimental to your driver’s license. The Court Clerk’s Office informs the Department of Driver Services (DDS) about your missed court date. The DDS then sends you a suspension notice but we hear from many drivers who never receive a notice. For out-of-state drivers, the FTA notification is also sent to your home state, which typically results in license suspension there too.

What steps are required to resolve the FTA?

To remove a case from FTA status, you (or your lawyer) may need to physically appear before a judge, although the specific process can vary depending on the judge handling your case.

After resolving your underlying traffic case, the Court Clerk will be free to issue a 912 form. You will need to submit this directly to DDS in order to remove any pending FTA license suspension.

DS-912 to lift FTA License Suspension
DS-912 Form – Issued by Clerk of Court

Lastly, consider obtaining a Fail-Safe letter from the Clerk’s Office. This letter informs any officer intending to arrest you on the bench warrant that the court has lifted the warrant. It serves as a protective measure in case the officer’s system isn’t updated yet.

Although these issues can be navigated without an attorney, professional guidance can be invaluable. If you have questions or need to explore your options, feel free to schedule a free consultation with EHG Law Firm today.