Fight Traffic Ticket in GeorgiaPage Overview
When you get a GA traffic ticket, you can either plead guilty or nolo contendere and pay your fine, or you can contest the ticket and fight the charges in court.
(Plead Guilty or Nolo Contendere)
- Pay the fine.
- Accumulate driving record points (if applicable).
- Possibly experience higher auto insurance rates.
- Possibly attend court-ordered safety and education courses.
- Voluntarily attend driving course to offset points and get an auto insurance discount.
Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest the ticket during a hearing.
- Work with a traffic ticket lawyer or represent yourself.
- Face no penalties if found not guilty.
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Learn more below
Fighting your GA traffic ticket means appearing in court on the date printed on your ticket, with or without a traffic ticket lawyer, and contesting the ticket.
Your traffic hearing will progress much like any other hearing. You and your attorney can provide testimony, evidence, and witnesses, as can the ticketing officer.
The fate of your wallet, driving record, and sometimes your driving privileges depends on how the judge views that testimony and evidence.
Plead Guilty or Nolo Contendere
For some, the process to prepare for and go through a traffic hearing isn’t worth it; after attorney fees and other considerations, some drivers find it even more expensive than just paying the fine.
As long as your ticket doesn’t indicate that you must appear in court, you can skip a hearing, plead guilty or nolo contendere, and pay your fine outright. We explain it all in our Paying Your Traffic Ticket section.
Avoid Additional Charges
Simply put, failing to show up on your hearing date results in license suspension. The DDS or court will put in motion a policy referred to as “driver’s license as bail,” which basically means you lose your driving privileges instead of going to jail.
The DDS or your court will notify you if this policy goes into action.
NOTE: Your citation should include a hearing date printed on it; if it doesn’t, contact your court.
Find Your Court
Your court will depend on where you received the ticket and the nature of the violation.
This information should be printed on your ticket. If it’s not, look at the town, city, or county information printed on the citation. The Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia website provides website and contact information about all the courts; if you need to, use this site to find the address or get in touch with the court handling your case.
Typically, you don’t have to inform the court that you want to plead not guilty; a hearing date is printed on the citation, and the courts expect anyone who wants to contest their tickets to appear in court on that date.
Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing
To avoid a default judgment or other consequences, notify your court as soon as you realize you need to reschedule or postpone your hearing.
Many drivers hire traffic ticket attorneys to represent them during traffic hearings―especially drivers facing serious criminal charges.
Note that these lawyers can also help you get rescheduled or postponed hearings, plead to lesser chargers, and file appeals of guilty verdicts.
As you prepare for your traffic ticket hearing, remember to:
- Go over your testimony―especially if you plan to speak in court.
- Collect any evidence that proves you were wrongly ticketed.
- Decide whether to use witnesses, and find out if your court requires subpoenas.
- Locate your ticket in case the judge or lawyer needs it in court.
- Discuss possible plea deals (if desired) with your attorney.
Overall, traffic ticket hearings play out similarly to other hearings. The judge will hear your testimony (and possibly your witnesses’ testimonies) and view your evidence; he’ll do the same for the ticketing officer. Once he’s taken every piece into consideration, he’ll give judgment.
Typically, drivers found not guilty can go on about their days, but drivers found guilty will need to deal with their fines and penalties. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Traffic ticket fines, which vary by violation and county.
- Court costs.
- Point accumulation.
- License suspension or revocation (due to the violation or point accumulation).
- Education and driving courses related to certain convictions, like DUI-related charges.
Learn more in our Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties section.
Filing an Appeal
Many courts require drivers to file appeals within about 30 days of a guilty judgment, but some courts might vary on that timeline. Talk with the court clerk or your attorney about your court’s specific policies.
If you’re not careful, you accumulate enough points to have your license suspended or revoked. (Need proof? Check out the GA Point System.)
Therefore, it’s a good idea to check your driving record from time to time to make sure:
- Your guilty verdict only resulted in the applicable number of points.
- Your not guilty verdict resulted in no points.
Guilty verdicts can lead to increases in auto insurance rates. Depending on your provider, your driving history, and the violation, you might be safe; however, it’s best to talk with your agent about how much you can expect to pay the next time you renew your policy.
Will your rates go up? Consider comparing auto insurance rates online to find a more affordable policy.Other Topics in This Section