How to Resolve an FTA Suspension in Georgia
If you’ve been issued a traffic citation in Georgia, you may have every intention of going to court on the specified date listed on the ticket. But if you’re like many drivers, you may either misplace the ticket or simply forget to appear as the date comes and goes. You might forget about the ticket entirely, until you receive a letter from the Department of Driver Services (DDS) that lets you know your license is now suspended or about to be suspended as a result of your failure to appear (FTA) in traffic court.
In some cases, people may not even see the DDS notice and not even be aware of their suspended status until a police officer pulls them over, leading to another traffic ticket and an arrest for driving on a suspended license. Once in jail, you may be unable to bond out until you’re able to lift the judge’s bench warrant that was issued following your initial missed court date.
So, even an innocent mistake in these cases can lead to serious repercussions. While it may seem harsh and unfair to suspend a license for simply missing a traffic court appearance, the courts view it as a cost-effective way to get people who missed that first date to return to court.
As soon as you are aware of either the FTA suspension or bench warrant, the next steps entail communicating with the court that issued the FTA or warrant, paying a fine for the FTA, and filing the appropriate paperwork with the DDS to resolve the suspension.
The process of removing the FTA suspension depends on the court: some may require you to appear in front of a judge, particularly if you’re not working with an attorney. One of the advantages of hiring an attorney is that your lawyer may be able to get the bench warrant or FTA lifted without you having to appear in court.
Unfortunately, one permanent consequence of an FTA is that the license suspension remains on your driving record. This may not adversely affect all drivers but it could be a hindrance to those whose primary occupation is driving-related, as current and potential employers will see this suspension.
One of the best ways to have your FTA suspension lifted is to work with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Georgia. If you are facing a suspension and are unsure how to proceed, call James D. Michael, P.C. at 404-857-4059 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.