What are Georgia Traffic Tickets?
Georgia traffic tickets are notices issued to motorists and road users found violating the State traffic or Highway safety laws. These violations include speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign or running a red light, driving under the Influence (DUI), failure to yield to emergency vehicles, etc. Typically, traffic tickets usually carry information such as:
- Vehicle details including the license plate number, registration number, automobile make, and color
- Location and time of the offense
- The description of the violation
- The name and badge number of the officer who wrote the ticket
- The name of the court in the county where the traffic ticket should be paid
In Georgia, the State Courts, Probate Courts, Municipal Courts, and Recorder Courts handle traffic and infraction cases, depending on the offense’s severity. As such, the Judicial Council of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Drivers Services (DDS) maintains records of traffic violations heard in the jurisdiction.
Records of traffic violations and all other public records may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the document or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
What Does a Traffic Citation Mean?
A traffic citation is an official summons issued by a law enforcement official to an offending road user.
Traffic citations and traffic tickets appear to be similar and are used interchangeably. Georgia traffic citations are a summons for the accused to appear before a court, while a traffic ticket can be resolved without a court appearance. Drivers may receive a traffic ticket for a first or second-time offense and receive a citation after receiving multiple tickets.
How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in Georgia?
While offenders are allowed to challenge a traffic ticket, the traffic tickets issued in the state usually carry instructions on how an individual could pay the ticket. In Georgia, tickets can be paid in person or, if the county offers online payment options, online. Georgia traffic tickets are best paid at least two weeks before the court date. Traffic ticket fines in the state differ based on court and type of violation. The traffic tickets usually have the fine and court information printed on them. Where they are not, the individual can locate the county court through the Judicial County of Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts.
When a motorist receives a traffic ticket in Georgia, the individual is presented with several options depending on the ticket type.
In some cases, the offender must pay the citation before the law enforcement official gives the court date. In other cases, the individual may enter a plea of Nolo Contendere or No contest, which works the same as a guilty plea. The individual may also decide to mount a proper defense in court and plead Not Guilty by employing a criminal defense traffic attorney’s services.
Pleading guilty and paying the ticket means that the citation will show up as an offense on the individual’s driving record. This will also incur points based on the violation of the driver’s license. A NOLO plea may remove the traffic points. However, the offense remains on the driving record.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Traffic Ticket?
Traffic violations in Georgia are taken very seriously by the courts. Hence, if an individual is unable to make payment by the date provided on the citation for some reason, a court appearance becomes necessary.
If the ticket is ignored and a court appearance is not made, the individual will receive a Failure To Appear (FTA). The order usually leads to having a bench warrant issued for arrest or license suspension.
If the court recognizes the offender as a super speeder (a driver convicted for speeding at 75 mph), an additional $200.00 fine must be made payable to the Department of Driver Services.
Where the driver defaults for more than 120 days, their license will be suspended. However, the offender will still owe the violation fee and an additional $50 to reinstate license and driving privileges.
Can You Pay Georgia Traffic Tickets Online?
Yes, traffic tickets can be paid online in Georgia via the Judicial Council of Georgia. Locally, some counties in Georgia provide online services for traffic ticket/citation payment via county websites. Users will be required to provide the following information to find the ticket before going ahead with the fine fulfillment;
- Offender’s name,
- Offender’s date of birth and
- County where the ticket was issued and date of birth
How do I Pay a Ticket Online in Georgia?
Interested persons may use the Locate or pay my ticket tool to find and pay their citations by searching through courts’ databases. This tool features a variety of third-party services with which payments can be processed online. However, the traffic citations will only be available these platforms 7 - 21 business days after the offender receives it.
Additionally, some cities, counties, and county courts provide online services to receive ticket payments within their jurisdiction. Before making payment online, the offender must inquire from the court clerk if the violation can be paid online.
To use the online option, the offender shall provide:
- The citation number located on the upper right corner of the document
- A credit or debit card number
- State Driver’s license number.
Some of the cities and counties with this online payment option are:
Johns Creek City, etc.
The inquirer can locate other county and court websites in the state with the Georgia Government website and the Judicial County of Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts.
If the offender misses the court date, the court clerk should be contacted immediately for available options. Also, offenders between the age of 17–20 are advised not to pay the ticket but instead appear in court to avoid having their license revoked.
Offenders may also opt to pay traffic tickets/citations in-person or via mail. For mail-in payments, a copy of the traffic citation is required, and the payment as a reference. If the citation document is missing, the offender shall provide:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Driver’s License number and, if available,
- The citation number.
The document should then be mailed to the court where the traffic ticket was issued. For in-person payment, most courts in the state accept money orders, checks, credit/debit cards, and cash payments.
What is the Georgia Traffic Ticketing System?
Georgia uses the traffic point system, which is also used by most states in the USA to reduce the improper use of roadways. With this system, the Georgia DDS (Department of Driver Services) records “Points” on an offender’s driving history upon conviction of any traffic violation.
Every traffic violation in the state has 1–6 points awarded to them. Continuous accumulation of these points may cause the license to be suspended, revoked, or canceled.
If an adult driver has more than 15 points in 2 years/24 months, it will be suspended, but a driver under 21 years will lose the right with at least 4 points. The point system also applies to violations committed out of state, even though non-residents will not receive points on their driving history. This system is a means to identify problematic drivers within the state.
How Do I Know if I Have a Traffic Ticket in Georgia?
In Georgia, there are multiple ways of knowing if a person has a traffic ticket.
Typically, pending or unaddressed traffic tickets issued within the state will show up on the driver’s driving record. Hence, the driver may run searches via the DDS database in person, over the phone, online, or via mail
To run the search in-person, the inquirer may visit the Local DDS office in the county and have the clerk run the driver’s license number for any tickets.
Alternatively, the inquirer may call the DDS office to run a search using the driver’s license number. Online searches can also be done through the Georgia DDS online platform if the driver has an account.
Interested persons may also find out about a traffic ticket by obtaining a copy of the Georgia Driving record via a mail written application to the Department of Driver Services. Another option is to print a copy of the Georgia Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) online from the Department’s website.
The inquirer may obtain a three or 7-year record for $6.00 and $8.00, respectively. This record will list any outstanding traffic tickets.
If the inquirer is requesting via mail, the following information is required;
- Full name as it appears on your driver’s license
- Driver’s license number
- Date of birth
- Mailing address
- Self-addressed, stamped envelope
Georgia Department of Driver Services
Post Office Box 80447
Conyers, Georgia 30013
Road users may also obtain a traffic citation history from the traffic court in residence jurisdiction. Depending on the severity of the offense, the individual may be contacted directly via mail. For example, if the individual has been recognized as a Super Speeder, the Department of Drivers Services will send a first-class mail informing the offender of the conviction and how to resolve it.
How Can I Find a Lost Traffic Ticket in Georgia?
After losing a citation copy, the first point of call should be the county clerk’s office. Interested persons may call or visit the presiding traffic court to inquire about citation numbers, court dates, type of traffic violation, etc.
Requestors must have the following information available when calling or visiting;
- Full name associated with the driver’s license
- Driver’s license number
- Approximate date of the citation
If the individual has the citation number available but not the actual copy, the citation may still be found using the Locate or pay my ticket tool.
How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record in Georgia?
In Georgia, points accumulated for traffic violations or any traffic infractions are subject to a 2-year statute. These points will stay on the offender’s driving history for two years from the precise date they were added, after which they will drop off. This may vary based on the severity of the offense committed.