Can I represent myself in court? 71 Answers as of July 02, 2013

I got a DUI charge and was issued a court date. I was wondering if I can represent myself in court or am I required to get an attorney.

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I'd recommend you retain a lawyer to help you or you ask the court for legal counsel.You have a right to counsel. Don't be afraid to exercise that right. You always have right to represent yourself; however, these cases are fairly complicated and the costs of a conviction are potentially high. It's well worth the money in the short-term and long-term to have an experienced attorney review your file.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/21/2012
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
You are not required to have an attorney, you are permitted to represent yourself if you desire.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 3/26/2012
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
You are not "required" to have a lawyer. You are asking for trouble if you don't. The prosecutor is not your friend, he/she has no duty to you to even tell you the truth or try to see anything other than the black and white words of the cop that stopped you. So, sure you can represent yourself, you can also remove your own appendix, but I would not recommend either.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 3/26/2012
Correia-Champa & Mailhot
Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
It is your right to represent yourself. The court will make you sign a waiver of counsel to be filed with the court. However, I caution you in making that decision. The charge is serious and any statements that you make to the prosecutor while you are representing yourself can be used against you. In addition, the law is complicated, the consequences are serious and your decision can have a lifetime affect on your record and subsequent charges in the future if you get arrested for OUI again.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 3/26/2012
Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
You are not required to hire an attorney but you know the saying about a person who represents himself has a fool for a client. I would strongly urge you to consult an attorney on this matter.
Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
Replied: 3/26/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You can represent yourself, but it is not recommended at all. You will not get a good deal and you may not be guilty, or able to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There's an old saying: a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    You can represent yourself but it is best to get experienced representation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You can represent yourself but it's a very bad idea. For one thing, you probably won't be offered a reduced charge.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates | George Woodworth
    Yes, you can, but I don't recommend it. You are held to the same standard and knowledge of an experienced Attorney, and the Judge will not explain things to you. Rather, you should get an experienced Attorney to properly prepare your case, and to competantly represent you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. | Elizabeth B. Carpenter
    If the judge permits, you can represent yourself. However, I highly advise that you retain counsel. When defending a DWI case, one of the most important issues for legal analysis is whether the law enforcement officer had probable cause to arrest you. You need a skilled lawyer to review all the State's discovery and advise you accordingly. DWI arrests are based solely on officers? subjective opinions and machines used to measure blood alcohol content can be unreliable or provide misstated results when not administered properly. Therefore, DWI defense is very complicated and involves an intricate understanding of the scientific as well as the legal issues.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    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. Most DUI Lawyers will provide a free consultation to sit down and see what their representation could do to help you in these stressful times.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    You have a constitutional right to represent yourself. But, I strongly advise against it. If you are not trained in the law and have expertise in DUI defense, you will almost certainly lose and face devasting consequences which could affect your life for years, or even decades, to come. Consult a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    While a person may generally be allowed by the courts to represent themselves, we recommend that everyone should hire an experienced criminal lawyer to deal with the court procedures and rules of evidence, along with important substantive issues.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    You have a right to represent yourself in court. Remember this that representing yourself is like taking out you own appendix with no painkiller and a swiss army knife. Both procedures are legal for you to do. Both are equally fool proof. And both are equally painless.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    You are not required to get an attorney but I recommend getting one or speaking with the public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    I've said this often, going to court without an attorney is like taking a knife to a gun fight. On your first appearance in court either bring your own attorney or ask for the Public Defender. However, there is no law that states that you must have an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    You are never forced to get an attorney. It is generally a smarter decision, nevertheless.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    You can represent yourself, but I'd consult an attorney before hand and then decide if you want to represent yourself or hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    You are not required to get an attorney and can represent yourself in NH during a DWI trial.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    you can but only a fool represents themselves in court. You are much safer performing surgery on your self. I have seen that done by special forces in a documentary.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Yes, you can represent yourself. However, I think of it like when I have a toothache. I could investigate, give myself a filling, or do what needs to be done. However, it may be painful and a whole bunch of hit and miss. I may even make the problem worse. I could even ignore it and hope it goes away. But, instead of all that aggravation, I usually go to the dentist, who is experienced with such things. Sure, it costs me something, but its usually best to leave it in the hands of someone who does that sort of things all the time. When it comes to law, you can do it yourself. However, it is your record and freedom at stake. It could be painful, and you could make the problem worse. It will cost something, but it is usually best to put this in the hands of someone who does this sort of thing all the time.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C.
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. | Christopher L. Hoglin
    The U.S. Constitution provides everyone the right to an attorney in a criminal proceeding in California. You are NOT required to have an attorney. However, like the old saying goes "He who represents himself in Court has an idiot for a lawyer and a fool for a client. Even lawyers who have been charged with crimes would never attempt to represent themselves. If you cannot afford a lawyer, at least request representation from a public defender who can assist you in understanding what evidence is important in defending a DUI charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You are not required to hire an attorney to represent you. You are at liberty to represent yourself. The old saying goes that if you represent yourself you have a fool for an attorney and a fool for a client.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You have a right to represent yourself. Most people don't have the skill and knowledge to effectively do that so they look to a criminal lawyer to help.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    You have nearly an absolute right to represent yourself assuming you have a basic education and understanding of what is going on. It is rarely a good idea however.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Yes, you can. You can also attempt to do your own root canal. The results will be equally painful.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
    You have a right to represent yourself in court and cannot be required to have an attorney. Given the seriousness of a DUI charge most judges will strongly admonish you that representing yourself is not considered to be a wise decision.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com
    LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com | Andrea Storey Rogers
    You can represent yourself, but I do not recommend it.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    You can represent yourself but it is never a good idea. If you can't afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    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. Not just in court, but also the DMV hearing, which is a separate proceeding. By yourself you have ZERO chance to win either.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/24/2012
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache | Stephanie Arrache
    You are allowed to represent yourself though it is not recommended.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, you could certainly represent yourself in court on the criminal charge of DUI, but as the old saying goes, you would very likely have a fool for a client.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Drunk driving is like firing a gun at a moving train and hoping no one gets hit by the bullets. You were to cheap to take a taxi so you got a DWI. Now you are worrying about the cost of a lawyer so you want to defend your self? Do you cut your own hair and do your own dentistry? You could get a criminal record for the rest of your life making it very difficult to get a good job for the rest of your life. Your insurance could be $10,000 a year if you get a DWI conviction. Are you planning on going to law school before your trial? If you are indigent you are entitled to a free lawyer, everyone knows that. If you have a thousand dollars you can retain a good criminal lawyer to try to get a DWUI violation so you won't have a criminal record. He can get you a conditional license and advise you on how to proceed with your case. You seem to be very young and not a good decision maker. You should get a good education, stay out of trouble, and get expert advise to help you with your medical and legal problems.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/24/2012
    T.K. Byrne | Timothy K. Byrne
    You can always represent yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 3/24/2012
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    You can represent yourself. However you should consider at least consulting a lawyer so you at least know what is going on.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson | Christopher L. Jackson
    You can represent yourself. It may not be the best idea but you have the right to represent yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You do are not required to hire an attorney but are very foolish if you do not consult one.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle | Adam J. Teller
    You are not required to get an attorney, but it is absolutely in your best interest to do so. You would not perform surgery on yourself, and defending a criminal or serious motor vehicle case is a skill which is at least as complicated and requires training and experience. If you can't afford to hire an attorney, at least consult with one. If you can't even afford that, apply for a public defender; you have the right to be appointed a qualified and competent attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Robert Sisson | Robert Sisson
    You can always represent yourself. However, if u had a toothache, would you pull your own tooth? An Attorney trained in this type of work will definitely be worth the money.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    You have an absolute right to represent yourself however a wise man once said that a person that represents himself in court has a fool for a client. It is not a good idea.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    You can represent yourself, but remember the old saying. "The man who represents himself has a fool for a client!" DUI cases are very scientific and if you want any chance at the best outcome, you are best served by consulting with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    You need permission from the judge to represent yourself pro se.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You can, but as Lincoln once said, "a person who represents them self has a fool for a client."
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    If you are facing jail and have no money, the court will appoint an attorney for you. If you have a job or assets, you're sh#t out of luck and will have to hire your own. Don't screw around, and just go out and do it. There are many ways an experienced attorney can help you, all of them you don't know. There are constitutional challenges, procedural challenges, statutory and regulatory challenges. You will be surprised how cheap it is to hire an attorney now, versus how expensive it will be if you are convicted after representing yourself..
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    You are not required to have an attorney, but unless you know the laws relating to DWI's, criminal procedure, evidence, and other areas, you are at a distinct disadvantage.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You are not required to have an attorney; however, you are foolish to try and represent yourself in a case like this. Do you know how to make jury instructions? Do you know how to object if the prosecutor tries to admit improper evidence into the trial? Do you know how to make motions before the court? Do you know the rules of evidence? Do you know how to get evidence admitted in a trial; (called laying a proper foundation)? Do you know how to properly examine a witness? The questions go on and on. Understand that if you do represent yourself in this matter, you will be held to the same standard as a licensed attorney. You will not be given any latitude. If you are found guilty, you cannot later appeal your conviction because you had "ineffective or lousy counsel". A DUI is a VERY serious charge. It carries with it mandatory jail time (maximum jail time 1 year, minimum jail time 1 day), mandatory loss of license, drug/alcohol treatment, interlock on your car, and a host of other court ordered requirements. Add to that massive increase in insurance premiums and possible loss of job. Having so informed you: Do you think it wise to represent yourself? I don't! Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You have a constitutional right to represent yourself. However, that choice is fraught with peril. If you are serious about fighting a DUI charge, hire an aggressive attorney with experience and knowledge about the criminal justice system and DUI specifically.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You can represent yourself, but you will be in jeopardy of losing your license and facing a possible jail term in a county facility, so having an attorney would be vital, in my opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    You have the right to represent yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    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 dont like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case. A little free advice: When arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking the defendant is given documents that include a notice that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of an automatic suspension of your license imposed by DMV. That is separate and runs consecutively with any suspension that may be imposed by the court. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled DMV appeal hearing and present any supporting evidence and testimony. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does. Of course you can fight the criminal charges. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or for trial. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion program, charge reduction, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    McClendon Owens Melia McBreen LLP
    McClendon Owens Melia McBreen LLP | Richard L. McBreen III
    You do have the right to represent yourself, but sometimes a court may appoint you an attorney over your objection. If you do decide to represent yourself, please remember the famous quote, "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    Yes, you can represent yourself. However, I recommend you retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You are certainly allowed to represent yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    If you are unfamiliar with the court system as well how to deal with the DMV and keeping your driving privileges I do not recommend representing yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    The Law Offices of Harold L. Wallin | Harold L. Wallin
    You can represent yourself, but it would be foolish to do so. DUI laws are very complicated, as are the rules of evidence. You ate facing jail or prison time, plus license suspension and/or revocation.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Andersen Staab PLLC
    Andersen Staab PLLC | F. Dayle Andersen
    Yes you can represent yourself. This is not recommended though.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Lykins Law | Gerald Lykins
    The Courts permit you to represent yourself. The reality is that you would not attempt to rewire your house without using an electrician unless you had a ton of prior experience.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/23/2012
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