What should I do if I received a notice for failure to appear in court concerning a traffic citation that wasn’t in the system?

Question:

failure to appearI got a speeding ticket on Feb 15th in Savannah. On the ticket, it said I had court on March 30th. I called two weeks before court date, and they said my citation wasn’t in the system and was told to call back.

So I called back, and my citation was still not in the system.

I forgot about the citation and court date, since I had been so busy looking for a job being that I was unemployed. So I used the money I had for the fine.

I got a letter in the mail about a notice of failure to appear and arrest/bench warrant. It said I had 10 days to pay within the date of the letter which was April 3rd, but I just read this letter a few days ago when I checked my mailbox where I live in Statesboro.

I always had intent to pay this ticket. Now I have a part-time job and I am in the process of starting a full time job a week from now and work both jobs. I don’t want to lose this opportunity to get back up on my feet. What should I do now?

Answer:

First – you need to address the Failure to Appear and the resulting Bench Warrant. The effect of this is that there is an active Arrest Warrant in your case. If you have contact with law enforcement you will be arrested on this Bench Warrant. The best way to address this issue is to hire an experienced traffic/criminal defense attorney that regularly practices in Savannah.

Second – there is the real possibility that the court also issued a suspension of your driver’s license for failure to appear. Your attorney should also be able to address this issue as well.

Finally – I understand that you are just getting on your feet with a new job and money is tight. However, if you don’t move quickly to address this situation it could quickly snowball into something that could drastically affect your life for years to come. After practicing criminal defense law for almost 20 years, I have seen people that ignored this type of situation be locked up in jail and lose their jobs, vehicles, homes careers, student loan/grants etc. I would recommend that you do whatever is necessary to borrow the money from friends or family members to hire an attorney and get this matter resolved before it blows up in your face! I hope this information has been helpful to you. Good luck!!!

– George McCranie

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