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Municipal Court Atlanta: 12 Frequently Asked Questions



Head, Kohn, Yager

This page answers twelve (12) FAQs (frequently asked questions) that clients ask. Bubba Head, senior partner of our DUI law firm, discusses how the Municipal Court Atlanta operates. The City Court of Atlanta handles any misdemeanor serious traffic ticket arrest (like hit and run Georgia, DUI less safe, or attempting to elude an officer). Atlanta Police or Georgia State Patrol make the traffic stops in Atlanta GA.

Simple misdemeanors like speeding or passing a stopped school bus with “stop” arm activated, racing and other traffic violations are “ticket-and-release” traffic violations, but are also misdemeanors. The best traffic ticket attorneys know how to keep a traffic misdemeanor OFF your record.

An arrest is not required for non-serious traffic tickets. These are handled by the motorist being cited and released and given a court date (arraignment). Driving under the influence DUI cases are our #1 category, but our Atlanta lawyers fight EVERY type of traffic violation for any drivers licensed in the state of Georgia or for out-of-state licensees. Yes, our lawyers in Atlanta can GO TO COURT without for almost all appearances.

Is a Speeding Ticket a Misdemeanor in Georgia?

For a DUI in Georgia or for a less serious traffic ticket offense, the drivers must come to court on a specified day, to learn what they are being charged with, and plead guilty or not guilty. For some judges, being represented by a Georgia lawyer is permitted, to avoid bond forfeiture, loss of driver’s license, or having to post a new bond. Ask our traffic ticket attorneys about your traffic ticket, and whether we can act on your behalf at Atlanta traffic court.

12 Common Questions Our Clients Have Asked About the Municipal Court of Atlanta

These 12 commonly asked questions of our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys may be what you need to know more about:

1.     Can I go to Jail for a Traffic Ticket?


Yes. Serious traffic offenses or ANY repeat offense for which a Judge in Atlanta believes the offender has not gotten the message, could result in jail time. Plus, very high speed for speeding tickets (or reckless driving GA chares) on Atlanta’s busy interstates or other congested roadways has put some drivers in jail.

2.   Are misdemeanor or felony cases being processed in Municipal Court of Atlanta?

Misdemeanors ONLY. All municipal courts in Georgia are misdemeanor-level “inferior” courts. Only state courts and superior courts are jury trial courts in the State of Georgia.

3.    What Happens If I Miss Court in Atlanta?

An FTA status (failure to appear) happens thousands of times each year in the City Court of Atlanta, GA. Depending on the Judge and how long you failed to appear, you could face a bench warrant for your arrest, and possibly have your driver’s license suspended. Plus, you still must come back to Atlanta Municipal Court and go through the same court process.

Driver's License Suspension for Driving Under the Influence in GA

4. Do I Have to Go to Court for a Speeding Ticket?

Going to court for a speeding ticket is a huge pain in the derriere, and costs people time and money from work. Our traffic ticket lawyers can prevent going to court for a ticket. Call an attorney in Atlanta who is a skilled traffic ticket lawyer.

You can speak directly with Atlanta DUI lawyer Bubba Head, Atlanta DUI attorney Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager DUI attorney Atlanta at our office (404-567-5515) (in a FREE consultation) to discuss how to avoid this costly inconvenience or ask a traffic lawyer with our law office how to appear in traffic court without an experienced traffic ticket lawyer.


Go to atlantaga gov if you don’t want to fight a ticket and pay online.

Unless it is a serious traffic offense, as stated on the back of your traffic citation, our Atlanta lawyers can cover all aspects of the case without you. Our traffic attorneys resolve many types of non-serious traffic tickets without the client being present. Even with DUI defense and other serious traffic charges, clients may only have to appear one time.

5. Can I Get a Court-Appointed Lawyer for a DUI Case or Traffic Court Case?

Because all traffic tickets in GA are misdemeanor offenses, with proof that you qualify for an appointed legal counsel, the answer is yes. Each Atlanta GA Municipal courtroom has a traffic ticket lawyer paid by the City of Atlanta that handles public defender cases. You must pay an “application fee” of $50 to see if you qualify.

6. What is the Difference Between a Court-Appointed Attorney and a Public Defender?

This free lawyer is not usually a private traffic ticket attorney, who gets appointed to assist with Atlanta traffic ticket cases. The Atlanta traffic court has full-time public defenders. Plus, very few appointed Atlanta attorneys handle speeding cases, but will commonly get appointed for a DUI case or similar serious driving offense.

7. Can I Get a Trial by Jury in Atlanta Municipal Court?

No. This Court in Atlanta is a non-jury court. If you ask for a trial, you must also sign a waiver of jury trial, to knowingly give up your right to a jury. Then, the Judge alone decides your case. Never make this choice without consulting an Atlanta criminal defense attorney.

8. Should I Use the Pay Ticket Online Option, for City of Atlanta Traffic Court?

You may try to pay fines online, and it won’t work. This inability to pay online can be because the category of a traffic ticket is a serious offense, or that the City of Atlanta computers are malfunctioning. Using the Atlanta Municipal Court pay ticket online portal means that you cannot now (or later) challenge the charges for which you are pleading guilty.

Paying fines online for minor offenses may be alright, but when entering a special plea, you need to go to Court and have the Judge accept it and note the disposition.

If you realize your mistake when your driver’s license gets suspended and learn that “pay tickets online” was a bad move, it usually costs as much or MORE for a traffic ticket attorney to try to help UNDO your mess.

If you do “pay fine online,” be sure to keep that receipt and check your driver’s license record in about four weeks, to make sure it “went through.” Making fine payments online saves time but can add points to your driving history.

9. How Do I Dress for Court? What Should I Wear or Not Wear?

Sloppy dress in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court communicates a message to the Judge, and that message is NOT good. Dress the same way for court as you would if you’re applying for an important job. Shorts and t-shirts with offensive logos or prints can get you sent OUT of court, and you are required to come back when properly dressed. This link to a community service page on the Atlanta Georgia Municipal Court web page offers dress code guidance.

10. How Do I Address a Judge in a Letter?

The rule here is DON’T send a letter to your assigned judge at Atlanta Georgia municipal court. Any Atlanta criminal defense attorney will tell you that this is “ex parte communication” (one-party communication) and is prohibited.

The Prosecutor must be involved in communications by the accused citizen, and you cannot bypass the Rules of Court. When in court, you should respectfully address the Judge as “your honor,” and say “Yes, sir” (or “Yes, ma’am.”) This behavior is appropriate court etiquette.

11. Can I Reschedule My Traffic Court Date?

Yes, but this process not easy at the Municipal Court of Atlanta Atlanta GA. Even attorneys who need a reset of a client’s court date must trudge down to court BEFORE the court date just to get the court date rescheduled. Because the decision to allow rescheduling or not only occurs on the DAY you were supposed to be in court, how can you be comfortable that it will be approved?

12. How Long Do Points Stay on My Record?

Each state decides how many driving “tickets” a person can get before being suspended on a points suspension. Similarly, each state legislates how long points remain on a driver’s license. For adult drivers licensed under state law in Georgia (age 21 and over), accumulating 15 or more traffic ticket points within the preceding 24 months triggers a license suspension. Underage drivers (those under 21, and especially those under age 18) do not want ANY tickets on their driving record, or they will get suspended much more quickly.

Atlanta Municipal Court Judges

These are the current full-time judges in the Atlanta GA Municipal Court:

The full list of Atlanta Municipal Court judges is as follows:

Chief Judge Judge, Honorable Christopher T. Portis

Honorable Calvin S. Graves

Honorable Gary E. Jackson

Honorable Crystal A. Gaines

Honorable Herman L. Sloan

Honorable Christopher E. Ward

Honorable Terrinee L. Gundy

Honorable Leigh M. DuPre

Honorable JaDawnya C. Baker

Honorable Ardra L. Bey

Judges Gaines, Sloan, Graves and Ward have been previous Chief Judges in this Court. This duty is periodically rotated and voted upon by the full-time Atlanta judges. To determine which judge you have, do a Google search for city of Atlanta Municipal Court docket, and have your citation number handy.


Atlanta Municipal Court pay ticket line: (404) 658-6940 [atlantaga gov]

Atlanta municipal court parking information for Atlanta Traffic Court, 150 Garnett Street (note: the fees to park her have gone UP to nearly $16.00 per day.)

Hours of Court Operation of Traffic Court of Atlanta GA: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Address for a rideshare Uber/Lyft Ride: 150 Garnett St, Atlanta GA 30303

Email Address of Municipal Court:

Atlanta Municipal Court Information on PTIT program, for certain minor offenses

JAIL information from Pretrial Detention Center visitor web page

Our law firm can dispatch our attorneys near me to your court, anywhere in the State. From Marietta (Cobb County), or (in Fulton County) from Alpharetta, Atlanta, and Sandy Springs, All the partners in our law group are thoroughly well-versed on traffic law in Georgia. From the law offices located in these four cities, our attorneys in Atlanta can be where we are needed, across the State of Georgia.

For information on other high-volume Atlanta metro Municipal Courts within a 20-mile radius, click below:

Roswell GA DUI Lawyer for Municipal Court

DUI Lawyer for Sandy Springs Municipal Court

DUI Attorney Marietta GA

Alpharetta DUI Lawyer for Municipal Court Case


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5600 Roswell Rd
Building H, #210
Sandy Springs, GA 30342
(404) 567-5515
235 Peachtree Street NE
Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 567-5515
in Cobb County, GA:
109 Anderson Street
Suite 103
Marietta, GA 30060
(888) 274-6288
in North Fulton County, GA:
33 S Main St
Suite 302
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(844) 867-2889