Can I use a plea in absentia for a DUI?

Question: I caught a DUI charge in Sandy Springs. I travel a ton for work and I really don't want to go to court because of my schedule. I want to know if I have to go to court or if you can do a plea without me there.

What happened was that I was sleeping in my car and a cop woke me up. I was sleeping at a stop sign on a side street and it was late and it seemed like nobody was even around. I was really tired from a lengthy trip and I guess it call caught up with me. I had been drinking on the plane and at the airport bar during a layover. So I drove home and just fell asleep at the wrong time.

The cop woke me up by banging on my window. When I woke I tried to explain that I was just tired but he said he smelled booze and I took the field tests. After he arrested me I took a breath test at the jail and I blew a .14.

I'll admit I had a decent buzz although I felt fine to drive a car. I'm pretty embarrassed because I'm a pilot for an airline.

D.H. in Alpharetta, GA

Answer: In Georgia, a DUI charge requires a mandatory appearance in court. So what is known as a plea in absentia is not allowed. It is a frequent question we are asked by many people, including business professionals who are frequent travelers.

A plea in absentia is usually utilized for minor traffic offenses. A DUI is not a minor traffic offense, so an appearance is required. However, we may be able to reset the matter for a more convenient time for you.

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