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Handling a Traffic Ticket in Atlanta Municipal Court

By: Criminal Defense Lawyer Atlanta Larry Kohn, Municipal Court Atlanta Near me

The Municipal Court Atlanta is the busiest non-jury court in Georgia. The Atlanta Traffic Court in metro Atlanta Georgia handles hundreds of newly issued traffic citation cases daily. This Fulton County traffic court also handles a tiny number of DeKalb County Traffic Court cases and an even smaller number of Clayton County traffic citation cases (part of the Atlanta airport area).

The Atlanta Court, as presently configured, was two separate courts until 2005. Former Mayor Shirley Franklin and the City Council members in her administration decided that the previously approved jury trial capability obtained from the Georgia Legislature in 1937 should be terminated.

Can I Get a Jury Trial on My Traffic Ticket Case in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court?

In the present City of Atlanta Traffic Court, only non-jury trials are possible. To get a trial by jury, your traffic ticket lawyer makes a written “jury demand,” and the case is “bound over” to that State Court. In other words, your case will “follow the county” and go to the County jury trial court of the County in which you were arrested. It will be one of these three State Courts:

Fulton County State Court (about 95 of every 100 cases)

DeKalb County State Court (about four of every 100 cases)

Clayton County State Court (about one of every 100 cases)

For instance, if you forgot your City of Atlanta court date, or are simply worried about missing it, you can text your citation number to (404) 975-1115 and this number will tell you your court date and send you a reminder text the day before court. Click here to find your Atlanta traffic case. The main number of the court in Atlanta is (404) 954-7914.

Handling a Missed Court Date and Having a Warrant for Failure to Appear (“FTA”)

If a person misses his or her court date and is seeking to discover the FTA status, finding this status may take some work. Often, the offender learns about his or her court problem by getting notice of a driver’s license suspension.

On this Atlanta City Court page, you may be able to find your name by using the FTA page link and “search by name.” Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have your FTA warrant problem when the City launches its next warrant amnesty program.

Atlanta Municipal Court Failure to Appear

Below is the current list of Judges for the City of Atlanta Municipal Court:

  • Chief Judge, the 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


The 10 Most Common Questions About Traffic Court in Atlanta GA

1.   What is the PTIT Program in the Atlanta GA Municipal Court?

The PTIT alternative in the Atlanta Georgia Municipal Court is a special “first offender” type disposition that postpones your court date, lats you attend and complete a DDS Georgia-approved driving course, and then pay a case fee. This program then lets the driver’s case be dismissed, and not show on the Georgia DDS driving history as a conviction or nolo contendere plea.

2.   Do I qualify for a Public Defender?

Total indigency is not required, but you will need to be paycheck-to-paycheck with weekly expenses for you and your family which leaves you with no choice but to use a free lawyer.

3.   Can I negotiate for a driving school or another method of avoiding higher car insurance rates?

Yes, and answer number one about the P.T.I.T. program is just one way to accomplish that. If you are ineligible for the PTIT alternative, a basic rules violation or nolo plea may be your best choice.

4. What are the consequences of just paying online and taking a guilty on my driving record?

Three issues need to be addressed. Once you do that, you are pleading guilty. This choice triggers the legal consequences under Georgia traffic laws. If you suddenly can’t drive, you will be paying MORE to a traffic ticket attorney to TRY to undo your bad decision. Next, some judges virtually never want to “undo” such bad decisions. Third, if you are going to represent yourself, thoroughly investigate the consequences of your actions at Georgia DDS and with your court Prosecutor.

 5. Does a no-contest plea (a nolo plea) mean that the traffic citation is not reported to the Georgia DDS?Nolo Contendre Plea Deal

Usually not, but the points on your driving record are avoided. However, not all types of traffic tickets in Atlanta can use a nolo contendere disposition.

6. If I go to court alone, can I speak to the Judge, or to the prosecutor to learn my legal options?

First, you need to understand that a judge is a referee, and a prosecutor is your adversary and represents law enforcement, not you. Usually, a judge will not get into any discussion at all about your case, because that is an “ex parte” communication. The prosecutor will NOT give you legal advice but will tell you what she or he will be offering, for a guilty or nolo plea.

7. Can the prosecutor dismiss my case by me paying a higher fine, to keep the traffic offense off my record?

Usually, this is never going to happen. Ask about PTIT or some sort of conditional discharge alternative, to see if your driving record supports giving you a break.

8. How long does a traffic ticket conviction stay on my DDS Georgia points history?

Drivers under age 21 who get four or more points on their driving history within any 12-month time period suffer a points suspension. Adult drivers age 21 and over are given more latitude, and GA DDS suspends with 15 or more points within any 24-month period, based on dates of arrest.

9. If I need to win this serious case (e.g., DUI arrest) should I merely ask for a jury trial immediately?

NO, do not do this. Untrained lawyers who are unfamiliar with traffic court law and the three State Courts that would be assigned your case commonly make this grievous error. You should treat a “must-win” case like getting a cancer diagnosis from a doctor: Go to a Traffic Law Specialist.

10. Will a public defender be able to help me decide whether to install an ignition interlock or to file an administrative license suspension appeal in my DUI case?

No, he or she can merely give you a form with basic information about your two options. Their job is limited to defending you on the criminal case, not the administrative license suspension.

Hiring the Best Traffic Ticket Lawyer to Achieve the Best Outcome in Municipal Court Atlanta GA

No other traffic ticket lawyers in Georgia have more legal industry awards and accolades than our law office. All three partners are legal book authors. Every major legal industry peer-reviewed attorney ratings organization has named our traffic attorneys to their awarded criminal justice attorneys.

Our law firm offers a FREE lawyer consultation, so what do you have to lose? Plus, our traffic attorneys call people back 24-7, and OFTEN can help clients get out of the Atlanta Detention Center quicker, when a driver has been taken into custody. 404-567-5515.

Our criminal defense, traffic law, and DUI law firm has offices located in Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Alpharetta (in Fulton County GA), and a Cobb County office in downtown Marietta GA. Our Atlanta attorneys are well-known for being DUI specialists, but every DUI court is also a TRAFFIC court, and our Atlanta lawyers know the “ins and outs” of these motor vehicle law courts.


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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