Traffic citations may be paid in person at the Probate Court office using cash, money order, or Visa/MasterCard. An additional fee is assessed by the vendor to processes credit/debit cards.
Payments can be accepted via telephone. A processing fee is assessed by a third party vendor when payments are made with a credit or debit card. You may pay by phone at 706-795-6365.
Checks are not accepted for traffic citations.
Certain minor traffic citations may be paid online at
INFORMATION CONCERNING TRAFFIC CITATIONS:
The Judge and Probate Court staff, while they want to be of assistance, may not participate in the negotiation of a traffic case. Furthermore, they cannot discuss the specific details surrounding an arrest or the issuance of a citation with the citing officer or the defendant. The prosecutor and/or public defender will be available to speak with you about your case on the regular court date.
Any defendant under the age of 21 will not be allowed to pay their fine prior to the court date and must appear in court on the given court date. This is due to the fact that the license of a driver under 21 may be suspended by the state upon a conviction or guilty plea. .
At the initial arraignment, each defendant will be informed of his/her rights and each defendant must enter a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or NOLO to the charge(s). The court exercises discretion in accepting NOLO pleas. The court will not accept a NOLO plea to the charge of D.U.I.
If a defendant enters a plea of not guilty, the defendant must choose between a bench trial or a jury trial. All defendants will have the opportunity to speak with the public defender and/or prosecutor prior to entering their plea on the day of court.
Failure to appear on the court date at the time specified on the bond contract or citation will result in the issuance of a bench warrant and/or a license suspension. No requests for a continuance will be granted by phone. A request for a continuance may only be made in person at the initial court appearance. Generally, only one continuance will be granted, and will only be granted with good cause shown.
Probate court handles traffic citations, game and fish violations, and other misdemeanor cases. On your court date, you will have the opportunity to simply pay your ticket, apply with the public defender, or speak with the prosecutor about your case.
Before entering into the Courtroom, you must check in with the Clerks who are stationed outside the courtroom in the hallway. If you do not check in with the clerk, the calling of your case may be substantially delayed. You must provide your name and indicate the type of plea you intend to enter (not guilty, guilty, or NOLO). If you are seeking a reduction in your case of any type, you must ask to speak with the public defender or the prosecutor upon check-in. Please keep in mind that you must qualify for the public defender and are not automatically entitled to his/her services. The clerks and judges may not, per laws and rules, be involved in the negotiation of your case and may not discuss your case with you. It is strongly suggested that you speak with an attorney if you wish to dispute your case. Also, the judge has the discretion to accept or deny any negotiated plea.
The purpose of the arraignment is to be certain you understand the charges against you, to make sure you understand your rights, and to allow the entry of a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or NOLO to your charges. Be advised that the court uses discretion in accepting NOLO pleas.
You have the right to represent yourself, however, it is dangerous to proceed without an attorney - even on what may seem to be a simple case. An attorney is educated on how to defend you in court. Most misdemeanor cases can carry a maximum punishment of up to 12 months incarceration.
Each person who is charged with a violation has the right to have an attorney to represent you. If you cannot afford an attorney and wish for representation, one may be appointed to represent you. You may qualify for the public defender if you are deemed as indigent. To be represented by the public defender, you must first complete an affidavit to see if you qualify as indigent, in other words - not able to afford your own attorney, then you will have the opportunity to speak with him or her about your case. If you do not qualify for the public defender and still wish to be represented by an attorney, you must ask the court for a continuance in order to hire your own attorney. Keep in mind that the court will generally grant only one continuance.
All Defendants are presumed innocent and the burden is on the state to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Those charged with an offense do not have to testify or offer any testimony during the proceedings. Defendants have the right not to testify and the right not to be self-incriminated. If a defendant decides not to testify, no assumption is made by the court that the defendant is guilty of any offense, whatsoever. In other words, no conclusions are made because of invoking the right not to testify. On the other hand, a defendant has the right to testify at trial.
Each crime heard by the Madison County Probate Court is a misdemeanor offense, and violation of state statutes. All those charged with a crime have the right to a trial by a jury in the superior court.
All non-US citizens need to understand that a guilty plea may impact any immigration status.
All Defendants on probation or parole may be subjected to grounds for a violation of probation or parole if found guilty or if pleads guilty.
A guilty plea, or a conviction of certain charges, such as NO INSURANCE, SUSPENDED REGISTRATION, DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, HIT AND RUN, some CHARGES UNDER THE AGE OF 21, and certain other charges can and will result in the suspension of your driver’s license by the state of GA.
If a defendant is charged with a speeding violation allegedly traveling 75 miles per hour or more on a two lane road or 85 miles per hour or more on a four lane road, the defendant is automatically charged as a super speeder. If convicted, there will be assessed additional fees by the state of Georgia Department of Drivers Services. Notification of these additional fees will be by mail at the address listed on the driver’s license. This Court has nothing to do with the assessment of super speeder fees imposed by the state. These fees are totally separate from fines imposed by the court.
If the defendant is under 21 years old, convictions on certain charges will result in a license suspension by the state. If you are under 21, please be sure to make us aware of this fact when you come forward on your case.
All Defendants have the right to enter a plea of not guilty and have a bench trial in the probate court. If you request a bench trial, it will be scheduled to take place on the next court date, after the arraignments. You may present evidence, call witnesses, and testify at your hearing if you so desire. Witness subpoenas may be obtained by you from the clerk of our court. If you choose to enter a plea of not guilty, tell the court clerk upon checking in. You will be given instructions to appear for your trial date and most likely will have to appear before the judge for the formal entry of your not guilty plea.
If you are found guilty on your case, the court has the authority to impose a sentence of up to a $1,000.00 fine and up to 12 months in jail unless you have been charged with a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature which can usually carry a sentence of up to a $5,000.00 fine and up to 12 months in jail or both. You also need to know that any final decision, judgment or sentence made by this court concerning your case may be appealed to the Superior Court. Strict timelines govern the appeals process and it is highly suggested that you retain an attorney for the appeals process. There are no standard forms for an appeal.
If you cannot pay your fine, you may be placed on probation so that your fine can be paid over time. As an alternative, the court may consider community service in lieu of fines with minor violations. If placed on probation, there are additional probation supervision fees that are assessed. In most cases once the conditions have been met, probation will terminate. The court will work with you on minor cases to avoid probation – in most cases.
In some minor cases, your case may be disposed of by the clerks without you having to appear before the judge. If you were arrested, you must appear before the judge.
Each session, there are many cases on the calendar and the court will process all cases as expeditiously as possible. During court, please refrain from loud conversations and please be certain that your cell phone is off.
Please call the office for any procedural questions prior to court.