There are numerous cases every single day across the country where people unknowingly forget to attend a court date for a criminal or traffic citation. What is unsettling is how serious the consequences can be for drivers who don’t realize their mistake right away.
To start, when you miss a court date, the clerk puts your case in FTA (“Failure to Appear”) status. If they don’t hear from you or an attorney, they will issue a bench warrant and suspend your license with the Department of Driver’s Services (DDS). If you are an out-of-state driver, they will notify your home state DMV.
If your mailing address is updated with DDS (or DMV), you should receive a notice in the mail from the DDS (or your home state’s DMV) that they have suspended your license.
Unfortunately, many drivers miss that notice and only find out about the FTA, bench warrant, and suspended license when they are pulled over by a police officer during a routine traffic stop.
Driving on a suspended license is a relatively serious traffic offense, and normally the officer will make an arrest as opposed to simply issuing a citation. And to make matters worse, you could have trouble bonding out of jail until you figure out how to lift the original bench warrant from the missed court date.
Steps for Resolving a Bench Warrant and Failure to Appear in Chamblee
Once you have been made aware of your FTA status, it’s up to you to resolve the charges and clear up any bench warrant or FTA license suspension issued by the Chamblee Municipal Court.
Depending on your case, you may be able to resolve the FTA with the payment of a fine. Other cases may require a court appearance in front of the Judge. This appearance is known as a failure to appear hearing. It’s important to understand that the court will not automatically schedule this hearing for you. You (or your attorney) are responsible for taking the necessary steps to start the process of lifting the FTA.
If the Chamblee Municipal Court issued your FTA, you should contact them at (770) 986-5004 to schedule a court date.
The Court is located at 4445 Buford Hwy NE in Chamblee, Georgia.
What Happens If You Don’t Have an Attorney for a Failure to Appear Hearing?
Deciding whether or not you want to hire legal representation to clear up your FTA status is not always clear-cut. An attorney can help make resolving your FTA a lot easier, but often that convenience must be weighed against pressing financial considerations.
You should know that it is possible to resolve your case without an attorney. But it requires a significant amount of diligence and follow through on your part to ensure you don’t miss something important or make an uninformed decision along the way.
If you would like help navigating and simplifying the process, reach out to one of our attorneys today.