You receive a traffic ticket, and even though you planned to attend court, it never makes it to your calendar. The court date comes and goes without your knowledge. At this point, you are in a Failure to Appear status (FTA) issued by the Fulton County State Court.
All the while, you are probably blissfully unaware of the process that is now underway to suspend your license and possibly result in a bench warrant issued for your arrest!
That is until you receive a letter from the Department of Driver Services (“DDS”) notifying you that your license was suspended (or they are about to suspend it) due to the FTA issued by Fulton County State Court.
Or, even worse, you do not see the notice from the DDS, and you are notified of the bench warrant and suspension by a police officer – while they write you a ticket for driving on a suspended license. Now you are facing jail time on the new charge. And to make matters worse, you can not bond out of jail until you figure out how to lift the original bench warrant.
First Steps Fulton County State Court
Despite the harsh nature of FTA penalties, once you are aware of the FTA status and/or bench warrant, it may be a relatively simple matter to resolve. Usually, it involves communicating with the issuing court, paying a fine, and getting the appropriate paperwork – indicating the removal of the suspension – to the DDS.
However, taking the first step is your responsibility. If you are hiring a lawyer – let her do all the heavy lifting. If you want to resolve it yourself, you must reach out to the Fulton County State Court Clerk’s office to find out how you can get the bench (FTA) warrant lifted and schedule a new court date. You can call (404) 613-5085 to get on the calendar.
Should I Hire an Attorney for a Failure to Appear in Court Notice?
It’s possible to resolve a traffic FTA case without legal representation. But there is one significant benefit an attorney can offer: They can often have the FTA or bench warrant lifted without requiring you to appear in court. Plus, they have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can simplify the process.
While you can resolve your case without an attorney, you should at least become familiar with how Fulton County State Court handles these cases before moving forward.
Can I Get Arrested When I Go to Court to Resolve my FTA Status?
Many drivers fear the court might arrest them when they go to court to resolve their FTA. This fear is reasonable since it is common for the judge to issue a bench warrant when someone misses traffic court in Georgia.
The court might arrest you if there is a warrant in a different jurisdiction or related to a separate matter. But otherwise, it is generally rare for the court to arrest someone when they show up to resolve their FTA traffic ticket.
If you are worried about being arrested or unsure about your next steps, contact an attorney today to learn about your options.