ViolationInfo.com’s “Dispute Form” (Atlanta)

ViolationInfo.com’s “Dispute Form” for Atlanta (Click to enlarge)

This is a sample of ViolationInfo.com’s “Dispute Form” for Atlanta. Generally speaking, this dispute form Atlanta uses potentially puts any notice recipient in a less favorable position than if he/she kept quiet. This form is heavily reliant on the legal ignorance of most average people.

“You will receive a Notice of Violation and Summons in the mail providing you with your hearing date. Once you receive the Summons, you must appear in court, as scheduled, or your Answer (Dispute) will be stricken and a Default Judgment will be rendered against you.”

This is a misleading statement. One will eventually receive a notice with a hearing date. However, it is not mandatory that anyone attends. There is no “default judgment” that can occur unless they were properly served or someone steps forward with an affirming affidavit. However, in Cobb County, there is a “Notice of Determination” that could be issued. However, a “Notice of Determination” is not the same as a “default judgment.” Not even close. It is still uncertain what the true consequence of a “notice of determination” really means. There are some cryptic, veiled statements that someone could be submitted to a collector. But these are not debts, nor are they true court judgments. There is very little strong basis for a successful collection.

Remember, these forms are being provided by American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to motivate people to pay, and not issued by any city or county agency or any court. They are not held to the same proper standards, unfortunately.

I am confirming my appearance in the Municipal Court and will appear on the date and time shown on my Notice of Violation and Summons. While I understand the City of Atlanta has the burden of proof in this case, it is my sole responsibility to subpoena any witness and bring to court any evidence in support of my case. I understand that once this dispute is filed, I will be required to personally appear in Court and the Court is not limited by any pre-posted or stipulated penalty.

This statement puts any notice recipient in a precarious position. Unless you agree to this, you are NOT confirming any date or time to appear. It is not mandatory but if someone signs the document, the form claims you have, in effect, “self-served” and required yourself to appear in Court. Georgia Code 40-6-163 is very clear as to the limits of your exposure. Essentially, there is a “civil penalty” which seems to be largely unenforceable. There are no provisions for late fees, collection fees, or attorney fees. But if someone decides to dispute using the ATS system, appearance will suddenly become “mandatory” and a court can supposedly EXCEED the “pre-posted / stipulated” penalties outline in Georgia Code 40-6-163.

I am actually skeptical of this and ATS is preying upon the average person’s legal ignorance. But even if it is true, that is more reason to NOT utilize the dispute process and simply stay quiet and not respond.

 

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