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Georgia Failure to Appear

If you missed your court date for either a criminal or traffic citation, you are in failure to appear (FTA) status and a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest and your bond can be forfeited. In addition, your driver’s license may be suspended (see additional circumstances below).

The real danger of an FTA is that if you are arrested you can be placed back in jail and the judge could hold you there until the resolution of your criminal case.

You may be able to avoid further penalties by scheduling an appearance before a judge at a Failure to Appear (FTA) hearing. Also, your driver’s license may be reinstated according to the below guidelines

  • 375-3-3-.12 Suspension of License for Failure to Appear

    (a) Suspension. The Department shall suspend the driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state of any person who has failed to respond to a citation to appear before a court of competent jurisdiction of this state or of any other state for a traffic violation other than a parking violation. The Department shall forthwith notify such person that his license is to be suspended subject to review as provided for by law.

If your license was suspended for failure to appear you must:

  • Obtain a 912 license reinstatement form or clearance letter from the court.
  • Take the 912 form or clearance letter to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) to have your driving privileges reinstated. There will be an additional fee which is payable to the Georgia Department of Driver Services. Only the DDS can reinstate your driving privileges.

    For more info on the Georgia Department of Driver Services:
    Phone (678) 413-8400

FAQ regarding Failure to Appears

Are there any fees that I have to pay to DDS?

If the FTA is resolved prior to the suspension effective date then no fees are due to the DDS. If the FTA is resolved after the suspension effective date then fees may be due to DDS.

How long will it take for the FTA suspension to go into effect?

The FTA suspension effective date will go into effect 28 calendar days after DDS receives notice about the failure to appear.

I received my release, do I have to report this to DDS?

Most Georgia courts submit FTA releases to the DDS electronically even though you are given a written court release. Verify with the court that the release has been submitted electronically to DDS. Once the release is received and the fee has been paid, your driving privileges will be reinstated immediately after processing.

What are the legal excuses to an FTAYou were incarcerated at the time of the hearing. You must bring proof of incarceration to court to get a reset.

You were hospitalized or institutionalized at the time of the hearing. You must bring proof of this. Routine doctor's appointments or an emergency room visit on the date of the hearing will not satisfy this requirement.
You were active military stationed elsewhere at the time of the hearing. Please bring in documents showing you were not free to leave the base and come to court.
The person receiving the ticket has been deported. ICE documentation is required.
The person receiving the ticket died or was terminally ill at the time of the court date and has died. Please bring in a death certificate or program from the service.
You did not get notice of the hearing. This sometimes happens if you were injured in a wreck, or arrested and was not given the ticket by the officer.

Can an attorney help me with an FTA?

YES! An attorney can help make sure that you get another court date to address your FTA, assist you in making sure that you are not placed back into custody and help you resolve your case.

Attorney Michael Bixon has helped many people with FTA’s make sure that they remain free until the conclusion of their case and ensured that they retain their driving privileges. If you have a question or are currently in FTA status please give us a call at 404-551-5684.

Categories: Criminal Defense