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    In the unfortunate event that you get a traffic ticket in Georgia, the citation itself will provide the information you need in order to either pay or contest the ticket. Tickets are handled by the individual counties in which the citation was issued―usually by the courts―so be sure to read the ticket carefully upon receipt.

    Option 1: Pay the Fine

    You usually have several options for handling a traffic citation. The first option is to plead guilty and mail the fine, named on your ticket, to the office listed there. This is the quickest and most convenient route, but it might have some downfalls too.

    Depending on the nature of the violation, points could be added to your driving record. Over time, those points will accumulate if you receive additional tickets, possibly resulting in your license being suspended. And of course, if numerous traffic convictions are reported to your insurance company, your rates will probably go up.

    If you choose this option anyway (most do), pay the ticket a minimum of two weeks prior to the court date specified on your ticket. Then check with the courts before that date to be sure your account was credited with payment. If not, and you do not appear in court, you could be fined and a bench warrant could be issued for your arrest.

    Option 2: Fight the Charge

    If you plan to contest the ticket, you might want to consider speaking to an attorney―Georgia is tough on traffic violators.

    If you choose to plead not guilty and fight the ticket, you will need to make your first appearance in court on the date noted on your ticket. At this appearance, you will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty, pay your fine in cash if you plead guilty (the courts do not accept checks), or set another court date to argue your case in front of a judge and usually with the police officer present who issued you the citation.

    Traffic School

    Unfortunately, Georgia does not offer traffic school as an option for keeping the ticket off your driving record. For a speeding ticket, the judge may offer to reduce your speed by 3-5 mph to keep it under the "less than 14 mph over the limit" requirement for reporting to insurance companies. The catch is you'll usually only get this kind of leniency with a guilty plea.

    Georgia uses a point system for violations, with different points assigned for various traffic offenses. If you are convicted of enough traffic offenses in a 24-month period to rack up 15 or more points, you're liable to have your license suspended.