Missing a court date will put your case in Failure to Appear status, which can then lead to a license suspension and additional fees. And sometimes it’s due to a mistake and not even your fault. Many times the court dates listed on your bond paperwork and your citations do not match up and you will get inconsistent information from court officials. Other times your information may have been incorrectly added to the court’s system so you were unable to determine your correct court date. No matter the reason, you will have to go through a specific process in order to resolve your case once it is considered a Failure to Appear case.
If you fail to appear at your court date for certain traffic-related offenses, the court will notify the Georgia Department of Driver Services by submitting a DS-912 form. For certain offenses, the court is under no legal obligation to provide you with notice of your failure to appear in court before submitting this form to DDS. DDS will send you a notice of a pending suspension due to the Failure to Appear by mail. The license suspension will be imposed if you do not resolve your case and submit documentation to DDS within 28 days after receiving the notice.
For other traffic-related offenses, the court is required to notify you of your failure to appear in court and allow you 30 days to either resolve your case or waive arraignment and plead not guilty. If after the expiration of such 30 day period you have not appeared in court to do so, the court will notify DDS and your license will be suspended until DDS receives confirmation that the charge against you has been resolved.
If you have a valid excuse such as a medical reason, emergency circumstances, or a legal reason the judge may excuse the missed court date. If you do not have an acceptable excuse, the judge may assess a Failure to Appear fee. You will then be expected to move forward and resolve your case.
Your case will remain in Failure to Appear status until your case is resolved and any applicable fines are paid or the judge allows your case to be placed on one of the court’s appearance calendars. The Clerk of Court will then complete a DS-912 withdrawal (also called a “release letter”). If you were able to submit the release letter to DDS within the 28 day grace period, no reinstatement fee will be imposed by DDS. If your license was suspended, however, the suspension will be lifted once you submit the release letter to the Georgia Department of Driver Services along with a reinstatement fee.
Being notified that your case has been placed in Failure to Appear status can be alarming. Knowing what to do next is vital to the outcome of your case. If you or someone you know has received notice of a Failure to Appear status, contact our team to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss how we can help.