Traffic Tickets

Do I have to come to Court for my traffic ticket?


Most tickets can be paid without coming to Court. However, some offenses REQUIRE you to come to Court, which means you cannot pay those tickets in advance. The offense charged against you is stated in Section II of your ticket at the line that says: “OFFENSE.”

The date of your Court appearance is stated in Section III of your ticket in the printed section that begins, “You are hereby ordered to appear in Court.”

If you are required to come to Court and do not show up, a warrant can be issued for your arrest and your license may be suspended.

A Court appearance is REQUIRED for the following charges regardless of your age:

  • Driving While License Suspended
  • Driving Without a License
  • Suspended Registration
  • No Insurance
  • All cases of Driving Under the Influence (whether alcohol, drugs, or DUI Less safe), and all cases of Boating Under the Influence, or any related DUI or BUI offense (for example, child endangerment)
  • Possession of Marijuana (Less than one ounce);
  • Reckless Driving
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Racing
  • Fleeing or Attempting to Elude
  • Hit and Run
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident

A Court appearance is REQUIRED for the following charges if you were under 21 years of age on the date your ticket was issued:

  • Exceeding the Speed Limit by 24mph or more
  • Improper Passing on a Hill or Curve
  • Unlawful Passing of a School Bus
  • Possession of Alcohol by a Minor (under 21);

This list is subject to change pending changes in the law or Court policy. Please contact the Court if you have questions.

How can I pay my fine?


If you are not required to attend court (see question 1, and answer), you may pay on line with a credit card, by phone to our office on a credit card, by mail, or in person at our office.

  • To pay on-line, go to www.payyourtix.com/harris and follow instructions there.
  • To pay by phone, with a credit or debit card, call toll-free 1-866-339-0646.
  • To pay your fine by mail, you can send payment to:
    Harris County Probate Court, P.O. Box 569, Hamilton GA 31811.
    Payment must be made in cash or money order.
    If you use a credit or debit card, a convenience fee of 4% will be added.
    We DO NOT accept personal checks.
  • To pay in person, you can come to the Probate Court office, 102 N. College Street, Hamilton GA 31811.
    We are on the bottom floor of the Courthouse, in Room 116.
    Payment of your fine must be made with a credit or debit card, or in cash or money order.
    We DO NOT accept personal checks.

What if I think I’m not guilty?


If you want to contest your ticket (“fight the charge”), you have a right to do so. You will need to come to the Probate Court on the date at the bottom of your ticket. You will be given an opportunity to enter a not guilty plea in writing and to specify whether you want a trial with or without a jury. If you request a non-jury trial (like a Judge Judy trial), the Court will schedule a trial date for you. If you wish to have a trial with a jury, your case will be transferred to Harris County Superior Court. They will handle your case from then on. Probate Court does not do jury trials.

Do I have to hire an attorney to represent me?


You are not required to have an attorney represent you and it is common practic’]e for people to represent themselves in Traffic Court. An attorney, however, is able to help you: (1) understand the charges against you; (2) determine whether a legally sufficient accusation has been filed against you; (3) determine whether you have any defense to the charge or charges against you, including self-defense, alibi, misidentification, accident, and reliance on the presumption of innocence and the State’s burden to prove you guilty on all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt; (4) prepare and conduct any trial held on the charge or charges against you; (5) determine what evidence is legally admissible against you; (6) file motions and make objections to exclude evidence which is not legally admissible against you; (7) determine what evidence I would be able to present in your defense; (8) file motions to obtain information and reports from the prosecution; (9) make strategic decisions as to calling of witnesses and whether or not you should testify at trial; (10) properly preserve legal issues for appeal in the event that you are convicted at trial; (11) conduct plea negotiations if you choose to plead guilty to any charge(s) against you; (12) make sure all of your rights as a defendant are protected; (13) advise you of any consequences on your immigration status; (14) advise you of any possible effects on your driver’s license.

There are risks to waiving your right to an attorney. Even in traffic Court, you face the possibility of a jail sentence. If you represent yourself without a lawyer, you will have to obey the rules of evidence. You will have to make decisions concerning which witnesses and what evidence to use in your defense, including whether you should testify or not. You will be responsible for handling any appeal of your case and, to that end, will have to make proper objections at trial, preserve issues on the record, and have the proceedings transcribed.

Charges handled by this Court usually carry a maximum of one year in jail and a $1000 fine (plus State mandated add-ons). Some cases (for example, 2nd DUI) can carry higher fines. Community service, attendance at a driver or risk reduction course (“DUI School”), and loss of your driver’s license may also be ordered by the judge. Given those potential consequences, it might be ill-advised to proceed without assistance of an attorney. The decision to have an attorney or not is yours to make. You may hire your own attorney or, in the event that you cannot afford one, you might qualify to use a public defender. To learn whether you do or do not qualify for a public defender, you may contact the Chattahoochee Circuit Public Defenders Office at 706-653-4301.

Super-Speeder; what is the law and how does it work?


Georgia has a “Super-speeder” Law that might apply to you if you have a speeding ticket.

If you were charged with driving 75 mph or more on a two lane road, and either plead guilty or are found to be guilty of the charge, you would be a Super-speeder under Georgia law. Likewise, if you were charged with driving 85 mph or more on any road in Georgia (including interstate highways), you would be a Super-speeder if found to be guilty of that charge.

When you pay a fine on a speeding ticket that qualifies as a Super-speeder violation (whether you pay on-line, in person, by the mail, or at Court), here is what would happen: our office notifies the Department of Driver Services (DDS) in Atlanta (Conyers) about your ticket. At that point, the matter leaves the Probate Court and will be handled by the DDS.

The Department of Driver Services will send you a notice of your Super-speeder status and will require you to pay a fine of $200.00 to the State of Georgia. If you do not pay that fine within 120 days, your license will be automatically suspended. Even though you will have your license in your wallet or purse, it is a suspended license. “Driving While License Suspended” is a misdemeanor criminal offense for which you can be arrested and fined.

If you receive a letter from the Department of Driver Services telling you that you are a Super-speeder, and instructing you to pay the fine to the State of Georgia, you should pay that fine by the deadline given in the letter.

If you have questions about the Super-speeder law in Georgia, this link will take you to the DDS page of “frequently asked questions”: http://www.dds.ga.gov/faqs/index.aspx?faqcategoryid=34

What is the Department of Driver Services (DDS) and how do I contact them?


The Georgia Department of Driver Services handles issuance and regulation of Drivers Licenses for the State of Georgia. It is responsible for all matters pertaining to Georgia Drivers Licenses including such things as Teen and New Driver Information, Non-Citizens Drivers Licenses, and Commercial Drivers Licenses..

The Department also handles reinstatement of suspended or revoked licenses, defensive driving courses, and license issues related to DUI, SuperSpeeder, points and points reduction, and missed Court dates (“Failure to Appear”).

The Department has a comprehensive and useful website at www.dds.ga.gov.

The DDS office in Conyers may be reached by phone at (678) 413-8400, (678) 413-8500, or (678) 413-8600.

DDS has the following customer service locations in the Harris County area:

Columbus (Midland)
8397 Macon Rd
Midland GA 31820

Fort Benning
6691 Marchant Avenue, Bldg 217
Fort Benning, GA 31905

Lagrange
900 Dallis St.
Lagrange GA 30240