Everyone has heard the jailhouse lawyer advice that if the cop doesn’t show up to court, you will win your case. In reality, police officers who are prosecuting DUI charges in Georgia are very rarely required to attend your first court date. This court date, known as arraignment, is simply where you answer to your DUI charges. Your plea must be entered as “Guilty”, “Not Guilty”, or “No Contest.” Under current Georgia DUI laws, no contest pleas are very rarely accepted, but that is not relevant to whether or not the cop must show.
In order to effectively fight your DUI case, it is highly advantageous to have your DUI lawyer on board before this first court date. Often times, if you wait until court to ask the Judge for more time to get a lawyer to defend your DUI, you will only make the situation worse; you will be hurried along, and given a short period to obtain counsel, usually. This is highly detrimental to your case, because now your lawyer is faced with having to obtain your evidence on a rushed basis- which is normally very difficult when dealing with government agencies.
In general, you usually want to give your DUI attorney at least 2-3 weeks notice before your arraignment date. That way, your attorney can communicate with the court, and make them aware that your DUI charges will be defended against. While arraignment is not a “do or die” court date, it is essential to walk in with competent DUI representation and a game plan for defending your charges.
So, don’t chance something as important as a DUI case on the cop not showing. Prosecutors and cops communicate and schedule DUI hearings and trials weeks in advance, and chances are, even if the officer is unavailable for a hearing, the judge will reset the case in order to give the officer a chance to appear.