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My daughter recently moved from Georgia to California. Shortly before she left she had a minor rear-end collision that was her fault. The insurance companies settled the damage portion, but now she received a summons to appear in traffic court. It came with a note that failure to appear would result in the case being referred to a criminal court and a bench warrant for her arrest would be issued. She called the court clerk and was informed that she can't have a lawyer represent her, and she must appear in person.

Is anyone here familiar with Georgia laws? A minor bumper-bender is not a criminal offense. No drug or alcohol were involved, so it's just a plain traffic accident. I can see a fine for failure to appear, but a bench warrant?

My first reaction was to just disregard the court appearance. But then, because it's not me but my (46 year old) daughter, I don't want to arouse the ire of the powers that be, and have some deputy show up at my door waving an arrest warrant. And the final matter is whether a Georgia traffic court could even issue a valid order to be executed in another state.

Opinions please.

RayB
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Is anyone here familiar with Georgia laws?

Not at all familiar with Georgia laws, but a quick google search returned the below:

https://www.ehglawfirm.com/how-to-resolve-a-bench-warrant-an...

....which sounds like Georgia doesn't play around with failures to appear. It doesn't sound like the real risk is that someone will show up at your door, but rather that if your daughter is ever pulled over in the future (like a routine traffic stop), the officer will see an outstanding warrant in her record and might take her in. Plus, according to this website Georgia will suspend her license and notify California as well - which could be very problematic for her:

https://www.georgiacriminallawyer.com/what-happens-when-a-pe...

The below site suggests that many traffic tickets can be resolved by paying a fine (essentially pleading guilty and accepting the monetary penalty and points on your ticket), but there are numerous violations for which a court appearance is mandatory. One of them is "involvement in an accident caused by driving a motor vehicle." So this may be something that your daughter has to clear up:

https://www.georgiawarrantroundup.com/GeorgiaTrafficWarrants...

Does not sound like anything to mess around with - she probably needs to clear this up, even though she is no longer living in the state.

Albaby
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