Can I handle a DUI case all by myself? 54 Answers as of July 23, 2012

Can I handle a DUI case all by myself? Do I have to hire representation or can I take care of my charge in court?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public's expense. You have a right to counsel. OUI's carry sanctions for a conviction that will impact a person's life long after the initial case gets resolved. Besides the potential court sanctions, a person will pay more for insurance, have a misdemeanor on their record, be barred from entering certain professions, and generally their life will change. It is well worth the investment to have some counsel during that challenging time.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/23/2012
Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
You have the right to represent yourself. However, it may not be the best decision because a criminal record is forever in Michigan.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/30/2012
The Woods Law Firm
The Woods Law Firm | F.W. Woods Jr.
NO. There is a reason there are DUI lawyers. A DUI can be expensive in fines, fees and insurance, can prevent you from getting a job and you could lose your license and your job. Consult an attorney to get results.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 4/23/2012
The Short Law Group, P.C.
The Short Law Group, P.C. | Shawn Kollie
Although anyone has a Constitutional right to represent themselves in any court proceeding, the stakes are very high with an Oregon DUI charge. A DUI is a Class A Misdemeanor with a maximum of 1 year in custody and a $6,250 fine.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/20/2012
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
I would never advise anyone to address any criminal charge without a lawyer. The courts are not designed for lay people and no one is going to assist a pro se defendant (without counsel) and you will be expected to know and abide by all the rules of the court as they pertain to evidence and procedure. I can assure you that the money that you save by not hiring an attorney will be long forgotten while the outcome of your decision (your criminal record) stays with you for life. Consult with an attorney. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint one for you.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 4/11/2012
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    You can handle it yourself but I advise you to seek an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can always use the public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    You can but he who represents himself has a fool for a client or so the saying goes.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 4/10/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    There is not a requirement that you hire an attorney but an attorney knows the process, the law and more often than not the prosecutors that have been assigned to the case and an attorney is better equipped to obtain the best possible outcome- the old adage is "The attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client" the same would hold true for self-representation.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 4/10/2012
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    You do not want to handle a DUI case by yourself. These cases are simply too complicated and the prosecutor is not your friend. An experienced attorney can assess your case and maximize your chances of a favorable outcome that protects you particular interests.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/10/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You can try to, but if you do so, you are foolish and will probably be found guilty. I assume you would not operate on yourself if you were sick and needed surgery. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be held to the same standard as a licensed attorney, which means, among many other things: How many DUI cases have you ever handled? Do you know what burden of proof is? Do you know how to file motions? Do you know how to make proper objections? Do you know how to have evidence admitted before the court? Do you know how to object to admission of evidence. Do you know the rules of evidence? Do you know what hearsay is? Have you ever prepared jury instructions? Do you know what a deferred sentence is/ Suspended sentence? Stipulated Order of Continuance? Deferred Prosecution? As a defendant, you are not obligated to testify and the fact that you do not testify, cannot be used against you as evidence of guilt. Having said this, how are you going to conduct a trial, without testifying in some fashion. If you are found guilty, and there is a good chance you will if you represent your self, you cannot appeal the conviction because you had a bad attorney (ie - YOU). The decision is obviously yours, but hopefully you can see that it is not a wise one to represent your self
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/10/2012
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    You can be allowed to represent yourself in court. However, even trained attorneys often hire private counsel when faced with criminal charges. It is nearly impossible to take a step back and objectively review the facts and options on a case when it is you who will have to live with the consequences of the case. It is for that reason that Doctors don't operate on family members and attorneys hire other attorneys to represent their interests in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2012
    The Jordan Law Firm
    The Jordan Law Firm | John Paul Jordan
    You do not have to hire an attorney but you will be held to an attorney standard in court. It is usually best to hire a lawyer to represent you since he/she can manage your case at times you cannot.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    If you feel you are competent to represent yourself, with all the legal issues, you should be permitted to represent yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Glass Defense Firm
    Glass Defense Firm | Jason M. Glass
    I would highly advise against it. DUI's are highly technical cases and many attorneys have become highly trained and specialized in this area. There are many attorney's who claim they handle DUI cases, but really have no idea what they are doing. I would never recommend that a lay person do the same.
    Answer Applies to: West Virginia
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    A DUI is a serious charge, it is always best to hire a lawyer to help you fight it or get you driving as quickly as possible. .
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    You can always represent yourself in court. It might not be the smartest thing to do, but no one can make you hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Dungan, Lady, Kirkpatrick & Dungan PLLC | Michael Dungan
    You have an absolute right to represent yourself, whether that is a good idea or not is another question.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    If it is your first instance and there was no "aggravating circumstances" such as an injury or your blood alcohol level was not too high, you probably can represent yourself. If you are not sure about these questions, it is better to have a lawyer present to handle your issues.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    You don't have to hire a lawyer, but you will have a difficult time contesting the charge without a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You are always entitled to represent yourself in court. Whether you should is a different issue. The conventional wisdom is that an attorney will be able to do a better job and get a better outcome. Prosecutors and judges don't like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case. Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    Analyzing all the defenses, machine errors, training of police, machine history problems, and interpreting the data, looking at field test protocols and clues, and protecting your Fourth Amendment rights involve a lawyer trained and experienced in DUI cases. To maximize your legal protections usually requires a trained analytical focus that our firm of prior police and prosecutors bring to each case. Unless you understand the field sobriety test requirements, instructions and clues, have a scientific understanding of blood, plasma, alcohol affects on the central nervous system, can explain the HGN tests, and are familiar with years of DUI case law, I doubt you will be as effective as an experienced DUI lawyer. As a former police officer I know there is no perfect case but expecting the average citizen to know where or what to look for takes years of experience with these arrests and cases. So I say get the very best experienced DUI lawyer you can afford to make sure no defense is overlooked.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You don't technically have to have a lawyer. But the prosecutor probably won't speak to you so there will be no plea bargaining.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    Good lord, don't even think about it! While you can always represent yourself in a criminal case, it is never advisable. Your chances of a conviction are significantly higher. What's more, without a detailed knowledge of the applicable laws and procedures, you could easily do something or fail to do something that will prejudice your case. If you're facing a DUI or any other criminal charge, you should consult an attorney right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Anthony Sessa
    Law Office of Anthony Sessa | Anthony Sessa
    Yes! However, it is wiser to spend some money with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who will closely examine the evidence, which could result in a reduced charge or dismissal altogether.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    The question is no different from asking if you should hire a dentist to work on your teeth. Sure, you could give yourself a filling, but there may be unexpected things and it may be painful. In the end, you would not really know if it would have been better with a dentist, until there is a new problem with the same tooth. With a legal problem, you could do it yourself. There may be unexpected things. It may be painful. But you could do it yourself. Oh, and if there is a new legal problem, there may be more dire consequences that could have been avoided if things were done differently the first time. For me, I prefer to use a dentist when I have a dental problem. My suggestion is that you get an attorney for a legal problem. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Anytime you go to court if you should have an attorney representing you. The prosecution has an attorney representing them. If you don't have an attorney representing you it is like showing up to a gunfight with only a knife.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The old saying goes "He who represents himself or herself in Court has a fool for an attorney and a fool for a client."
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
    You have a constitutional right to represent yourself although the judge and district attorney would strongly discourage you from doing so. If you represent yourself, you will be required to know and abide by the same rules as an attorney and the district attorney. Remember the old legal saying, "He (or she) who represents themselves has a fool for a client".
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Some people don't want to spend the money to call a taxi so they drive home drunk and get arrested. Then they do not want to spend any money on a lawyer so they ask the judge if they can just plead guilty without a lawyer. These are mostly young men who are not very sophisticated and are not good decision makers. You should not cut your own hair or perform your own surgery and you should not act as your own lawyer. You have no idea on how to proceed or what a good plea offer is. You do not know how to go through the criminal justice system and need the advice of an experienced criminal attorney. If you are indigent the court will appoint an attorney to represent you. If you are working many lawyer will allow you to make payments. The average fee is about $1,500 for a DWI plea and possibly more for a trial. Although you have a right to act "pro se" which means to represent yourself in any case, only a fool would do so and the judge will attempt to convince you that it is not wise.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    With the court's permission, you may be able to represent yourself. But lawyers are trained professionals who have studied for years how to defend against these cases. If you needed surgery would you consider operating on yourself. If you don't care about the results then you may consider representing yourself. If you care about the outcome of the case, hire a professional.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Cody W. Gibson, Attorney at Law, PLLC
    Cody W. Gibson, Attorney at Law, PLLC | Cody W. Gibson
    Having a skilled attorney is very important, because attorney's work on criminal cases and specifically DUI cases on a daily basis. An attorney can show you all of your options and determine what is the best course of action for you. Though it is possible to defend yourself without an attorney it is not recommended.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Hire a lawyer. You have no idea how to handle a DWI case against a trained prosecutor and trained officers.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    I would strongly recommend you have an experienced DUI attorney defend you. Between Court procedure, criminal law, forensic science, etc it could cost you a lot more in the long run if you don't have an experienced dui attorney defending your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    T.K. Byrne | Timothy K. Byrne
    If you do, you will have a fool for a client
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    It depends upon what you mean by "handle." You can certainly walk in by yourself and give up all your rights and plead guilty. You can also try to take advantage of your legal rights without using an attorney. The question becomes, do you know what your legal rights are and how to successfully ensure that they are scrupulously honored? If you answered "no", then you owe it to yourself to at least have a free consultation with an experienced DUI defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You have the right to represent yourself however it is highly inadvisable to do so. You have been charged with a crime and that conviction will stay with you, quite possibly forever. If you are serious about fighting your case, hire an aggressive attorney quickly.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    You can represent yourself in a DUI but I suggest you retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes you can. You can also take out your own appendix with a swiss army knife and no painkiller. Both procedurtes are equally foolproof, painless and easy.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    It is advisable to have representation. DUI's are complicated cases.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You can, but just remember the old adage: "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." In order to represent yourself, the Judge will make you sign a whole host of documents acknowledging that you understand it is almost always foolish to represent yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You can do it by yourself if you are undeterred by the fact that you do not know the first thing about it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You can take care of the case yourself, and should IF you think any monkey in a suit can try a case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    San Diego DUI Law Center
    San Diego DUI Law Center | Rick Mueller
    No. A private California DUI attorney or a Public Defender lawyer is required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    The Law Offices of Harold L. Wallin | Harold L. Wallin
    No, even attorneys who do not specialize in DUI law should not handle a DUI case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Collins Law Firm, P.A.
    Collins Law Firm, P.A. | John C. Collins
    You can but it would likely be foolish. Very few attorneys actually understand all of the intricacies involved in dwi defense. Without that understanding, without understanding the rules of criminal procedure, and rules of evidence you are setting yourself up to have a bad day in court.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    You would be wise to hire an attorney who will handle both the DMV hearing, where your license can be saved from suspension, and the court hearings, where you may face jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/9/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    You have the right to represent yourself. However, it is not wise to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/9/2012
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