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Old 03-08-2016, 11:00 AM
1 posts, read 803 times
Reputation: 10


Hey guys, I'm not really sure where to ask for help about this so if this is not the right place please direct me elsewhere.

I got pulled over early January (January 5th to be exact) for my tags being expired. It was my first time ever being pulled over and only my second year in Atlanta so I had forgotten about having to renew my tags and I asked the officer exactly what I needed to do because I had never been pulled over before. He was very helpful, handed me my two citations (one for current year sticker not on tag and one for expired registration) and told me this:

"You just need to get your tags renewed before January 27th or show up in court."

That was it! It seemed so simple, so I got my emissions tested and tags renewed on January 11th, well before the mandated January 27th date the officer informed me of. I had my tags renewed before the 27th, so given the officer said I needed to renew my tags OR show up in court, I thought I was done!

Wrong. Very wrong. I was not aware that you had to actually show up in court for a traffic violation for expired tags and the fact the officer said I could renew the tags or show up in court led me to believe it was an either or situation. I did not show up to court and I just got a postcard last Friday from the Municipal Court of Atlanta saying I missed my court date and need to call the courthouse and get things resolved and they said I just need to show up some time this week.

What should I expect? Originally, I was going to court to just prove I had renewed my tags on time, which I did and I have proof of printed out for the judge. Now, with me missing my court date due to a misunderstanding between me and the officer, I suspect this is very serious now. How should I go about explaining this to the judge? What are the chances the judge believes me?

I have never even been pulled over before this, let alone having to show up to court and plead anything to a judge. What are your guys' thoughts on what I should do and what I should expect?

CLIFF NOTES: Got pulled over for expired tags, misunderstanding of the officer led me to miss my court date, now I am going in this week to get things resolved and have no idea what to do or what to expect.

Thank you so much ahead of time for any suggestions, I really appreciate it and I am already slightly freaking out.
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:29 AM
2,495 posts, read 4,189,711 times
Reputation: 1910
We cannot offer legal advice but at this point my recommendation is to show up, look your best (appropriate for court), don't be too emotional, be humble and be honest with the judge.

I suspect worse case scenario this could be expensive but if it is truly a first time offense and you are not at risk of having your license revoked it may not be worth hiring a lawyer - but that is just my opinion and for you to decide.
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:32 AM
Location: Historic West End
4,534 posts, read 4,286,450 times
Reputation: 4642
You can file a statement before the reset hearing and the judge can read it before the case. The statement should fully explain why you missed the original court date. Be respectful and dress to impress at the reset hearing. You can also contact the judge personal clerk as they may be able to provide further insight on the personality of the judge and how to respond.

Last edited by Atlwarrior; 03-08-2016 at 01:01 PM..
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:38 PM
Location: Ono Island, Orange Beach, AL
10,565 posts, read 10,907,913 times
Reputation: 6629
I would call the Atlanta Legal Aid Society were I you.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:19 PM
8,196 posts, read 7,548,642 times
Reputation: 5657
Keeping in mind that we cannot give legal advice, do you know if a warrant was issued for your arrest after you missed your court date?

It is customary in many (if not most, but not all) cases for a warrant to be automatically from the bench if the defendant misses their court date.

Also, do you know if your license is still active? In some cases one's driver's license may be automatically suspended when they miss their court date.

These are but a couple of major reasons why you might need to seek some type of professional legal counsel or legal representation after missing your court date....This is because the court considers to be a missed date a very serious offense.
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:37 PM
Location: Atlanta
2,862 posts, read 3,198,841 times
Reputation: 1456
First, I'd make sure I had bail money and someone to contact just in case.

Next, if it is really only an expired tag from two months ago then I'd just go to court and apologize for missing the court date and try to pay the fine. Expect to have to wait to see the judge until everybody else is done though.

If there are other things involved, I'd hire an attorney and do my best not to set foot in that court room until I knew what the possible consequences were which circles back to make sure you have bail money.
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