Do I need an attorney for my second DUI? 89 Answers as of February 24, 2012

I got a lawyer for my first DUI and it cost me so much money I can’t afford to get an attorney again. Can I go to court without a lawyer this time?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You can but it is not advisable. Remember, the stakes are higher the second time around and jail becomes a greater possibility with each conviction. A good DUI attorney will more than pay for himself in what he can save you in terms of fines, costs, probation costs, vehicle immobilization, higher insurance premiums, and license sanctions. I would strongly consider retaining counsel.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Yes, you need an attorney for a second DUI because it is much harder to deal with a second than a first DUI in court and they can try to force you toplead guilty to a Felony or Misdemeanor depending upon what you were originally convicted of on the first one. Remember the old adage "He who hashimself for an attorney, has a fool for a client." Don't do it. You're better off with an attorney. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/18/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
The penalities for a second conviction on a DUI are much more severe than for a first time DUI and may involve mandatory jail time or up to 30 days of community service.Rick Williams
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/15/2011
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
Not a very good idea and the court may not even permit you to proceed. If you don't qualify for assigned counsel you may essentially be bullied into hiring an attorney by the court.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/15/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
Your summary states that you paid a lot for your first DWI to an attorney and now you want to know if you need an attorney for the new DWI charge. Drunk driving is like firing a gun at a moving trail and hoping that no one gets hit by the bullets. You can have an attorney appointed to represent you if you are indigent, but you should retain an experienced criminal attorney to keep you out of jail as you are now facing a second DWI and may lose your license for several years. You are not a good decision maker or skilled in the law...what would make you think you do not need to retain an attorney? Sell your car and hire a good lawyer, you are not going to be able to drive it for a while anyway...good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/15/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    You have the right to represent yourself. Doing so would be a huge mistake. If I were you I would borrow whatever amount of money it takes to hire the very best criminal defense attorney I could get. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Going to court by yourself on any criminal offense is not usually advisable. If you feel you are competent to handle the case, then go ahead. If you feel there are things about defending yourself you do not fully understand, then an attorney is advisable. If you do not have the financial resources to hire an attorney, you should ask the Judge to appoint an attorney for you. A court appointed attorney is better than none at all.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson | Christopher L. Jackson
    You need a lawyer more for the 2nd DUI than you did the first. 2nd DUI convictions cary 1 year license suspensions with NO privileges and madatory jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux
    Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux | Scott Tibbedeaux
    You should consult an attorney or get a court appointed attorney to explore all defenses available to you depending on the facts of your DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    You would be unwise to defend yourself against a second OUI charge, as the penalties are greater. You should interview a number of OUI attorneys, as their rates may differ, and at the very least you should apply for a public defender, though they will not be able to represent you at the DMV where you can challenge the license suspension.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    A person who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer. There are many things that can be fought in DUI, if you have the right lawyer. there are, of course, scoundrels out there who will take your money and put pressure on you to plead, but there are some who know what they are doing and will be aggressive against government instead of against their clients.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    In Michigan, a DUI Second, if charged as a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to a year in jail, probation up to two years, fines, costs, community service, and a litany of license sanctions including suspension or possible revocation depending on your record. I would recommend retaining an attorney to assist you with this matter. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations. It may take a few phone calls. However, it is well worth the effort. If you cannot afford to retain an attorney, the court may appoint an attorney to represent you at the public's expense. Given the possibility of substantial jail time, you should strongly consider asking the court to appoint you an attorney if you cannot afford to retain one.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    I would advise that you speak with an attorney before you go to court on any charge. With a 2nd Offense DUI you are facing a minimum of 2 years loss of license, 2 years of probation, numerous fines and penalties, and not less than 2 weeks of in-patient treatment or 30 days of jail time. That is the statutory minimum. Your penalty could be much worse. Without speaking with an attorney, you will never know what your options were. I think you will regret your decision for many years to come if you decide to go without an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney the court will appoint one for you. Speak to a lawyer. Do not go in without counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Grant & Grant
    Grant & Grant | Richard L. Grant, Esq.
    Most definitely need legal counsel who practices DUI's, especially second dui's. A second DUI exposes a defendant to possible jail time, 60-180 days in county jail. If you cannot afford an attorney request a Public Defender. However, a private attorney is preferred. It is recommended that you immediately consult with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney or request a Public Defender without any further delay.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    It is always a difficult situation when money is a factor in hiring an attorney. However, for a 2nd time DUI, the consequences can be so severe, including substantial jail time that can lead to the loss of a job, getting a good attorney that does the job can make it financially worthwhile in the long run. There are no guarantees though, and all an attorney can promise is to give their best effort. You can decide to go on your own, but you are up against a trained prosecutor, and a judge who is likely a former prosecutor. They have no sympathy for you and will treat you with scorn and disdain and just push you to plead guilty. Anyone can go in and plead guilty, but that is not going to be in your best interestjust theirs. They absolutely abhor "pro pers" because it slows down their day and their pursuit of guilty pleas. I don't recommend doing it yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC | John E Gutbezahl
    Going into court unrepresented is a huge mistake. You have a lot riding on this case, and the adage is "a person who represents himself has a fool for a client."!
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    This question could be rephrased "Can I represent myself?" The answer is yes. You can also remove your appendix with a swiss army knife. Both procedures are equally painless and free from possible mistakes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    A person always has the right to represent themselves in court. If you are going to do so, you should have a firm grasp on the laws involved and the Michigan Court Rules. Remember, the people will be represented by the prosecuting attorney. I can't tell you you must have an attorney but it is generally a good idea.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need further details such as what was the outcome the first time and if you were convicted after trial or plead guilty was the first one within 10 years of the second one. If so this enhances the severity of the offense. You should hire an attorney. If you can not afford one you may qualify for a court appointed attorney which is still way better than trying to represent yourself.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Your question is somewhat akin to saying to a doctor, "Doctor, I know my cancer's back but the last operation was so expensive that I'm going to do my own surgery. Is that a good idea?" "The doctor might reply, "Well you can't really establish a sterile field at home. You won't have anybody to administer anesthesia so you'll have to be awake during the surgery. At any rate, you'll have to be awake so you know where to cut. Oh and you won't have any optical loops or microscopes to help you delineate between muscles and veins, arteries, nerves and the cancer. You might bleed to death because no surgical nurse will be monitoring your vital signs. Oh and you won't have a defibrillator if you flatline. But if you survive the surgery, get all the cancer and stop the bleeding, you might save yourself some money. On the other hand, you will probably die on your living room couch operating table." Now that's an extreme example given. However, DUI law is very complex and involves scientific issues such as infrared spectroscopy, blood gasses, absorption rates, toxicology and effective persuasion of a jury. Do you really want to take on that monster? You can go to your first court appearance to see if you can make a deal with the prosecutor and take your lumps. There may be added jail time for this second DUI and your license will be suspended for at least two years. But there may also be technical defenses in relation to the breath test that you forego by copping a plea. The officer may go on vacation the week of your trial but you won't know what to do in that circumstance. Yes, you can certainly represent yourself on your current DUI charge and you can do your own surgery. Unfortunately, you will face heavy consequences in both cases.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    A second DUI is much more serious than the first one. You should talk to a lawyer for sure.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Most definitely you should consult with a lawyer. You think it cost you a lot on a first DUI, the penalties are far more extreme on a second DUI. Penalties are as follows: One prior offense with alcohol concentration less than .15 or if there is no test result: Maximum penalty is 1 year in jail, mandatory minimum jail time (non-suspendable) is 30 days Fines, with statutory assessments will approximate $2,000.00 Loss of driver's license for 2 years; after you get your license back, you will have to have an interlock device on your car for 1 year Alcohol/drug treatment as determined by the court High Risk insurance (SR22) which generally runs 150% higher than regular insurance rates. One prior offense with alcohol concentration at least .15 or greater or test refusal (ie reffused to submit to a breath test when asked by the arresting officer - this is different than "no test, as referenced above). "No test" means that the breath machine was not working properly, not currently certified or some other issue that would prevent the test result from being admissible in court. A DUI attorney could assist you with this issue. Penalties are: Maximum 1 year in jail, mandatory minimum jail time (non-suspendable) is 45 days Fines, with statutory assessments will approximate $2600.00 Loss of driver's license for 900 days (2.5 years); after you get your license back, you will have to have an interlock device on your car for 1 year Alcohol/drug treatment as determined by the court High Risk insurance (SR22) which generally runs 150% higher than regular insurance rates. These penalties may be far more extreme if you have a commercial driver's license. If so, you can pretty much kiss that license good by. There is also the issue of whether or not, with multiple DUIs, you may have a substance abuse issue. If so, you may, if you have not already done so in the past, petition the court for a "deferred prosecution". If accepted, you could potentially avoid a lot of penalties and jail time. Also, if the second DUI occurred while you were on probation for the first DUI (within 5 years of the first DUI), then you could be brought back before the court dealing with your first DUI and be subject to additional penalties, including more jail time under the first DUI. Bottom line: As you can see, there are many issues that need to be addressed and there is much at stake. CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Can I go to court without a lawyer this time? You are PERMITTED to represent yourself but you are likely facing felony charges on a second DWI so I would not recommend it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Yes, you have a right to defend yourself, in every case, however, on a second DUI, like cancer, the consequences become more serious. You may find yourself facing an enhanced charge of Felony Aggravated DUI, and prison time. My advice is to retain the best attorney you can for this case, as the sentence upon a finding of guilt can be horrible. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask for a public defender. Remember the old adage, a defendant who represents himself has a fool for a client, don't fall into that category. F
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The charges and potential penalties you will be facing for your second offense DUI will be more serious than those for your first and may include mandatory jail time on a conviction. Because of this it is probably more necessary for you to seek the services of an experienced DUI attorney for your second offense than your first to attempt to negotiate reduced charges and/or a suspended sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    You can represent yourseld bit with a second time DUI plus a possible probation violation you need counsel. If you cann't afford to hire an attorney request a public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    expect minimum of 10 days in jail. an attorney may be able to change that.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    Yes. If you truly cannot afford a lawyer, request a public defender from the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Dichter Law Office, PLLC
    Dichter Law Office, PLLC | Jonathan Dichter
    Absolutely you need an attorney. A second offense DUI can put you in jail for over 30 days right off the bat, not to mention up to 2 years license suspension - 5 years interlock and more! You need someone to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    Yes, you have the right to represent yourself in court. Many times people ask me, "well, couldn't I just represent myself and get the same deal?" The answer is yes, you might get the same plea deal that an attorney could get for you, or you might not. But, there are so many things that can go wrong that you should think twice about it. I will give you a small example: A man just hired me because he was recently arrested for driving with a suspended license. He told me that there was "no way" that his license should have been suspended. He had previously represented himself on a charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The prosecutor in that case told him he could plead nolo contendere, pay a fine, and if he completed an drug class within 120 days, his license would not be suspended. So the client took the prosecutor's deal. But the prosecutor was WRONG! A nolo contendere plea to misdemeanor possession of marijuana will ABSOLUTELY suspend a drivers license, unless the judge's sentencing order requires attendance at the Risk Reduction Program (aka, DUI School) and the person completes that within 120 days. So, this young man's license was properly suspended, and now he will forever have an arrest for driving while suspended on his record. He must now pay a lawyer to fix all of this. He would have saved himself a lot of heart ache and money if he had hired an attorney for the first case. Criminal and license suspension laws are bizzare, complicated, overlapping, and change almost every year. Only an attorney committed to handling these types of cases can even attempt to keep up with this morass. I wish you the best of luck however you choose to handle your case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Although it is always best to hire an attorney; you can defend yourself. Even better than defending yourself is looking to see if you qualify to retain the services of the public defender. You still may have to pay a fee based on what you can afford, but it is usually substantially cheaper. Keep in mind that a DUI charge with a prior DUI is a serious offense in California and the DA is likely going to ask for jail time. Even though hiring an attorney can be expensive, it may be worth it. Many attorneys offer a free consolation. They can usually tell you whether you should plead guilty or fight the charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You would be wise to hire counsel. The consequences of a second DWi in ten years can be severe. It is a third degree offense. This is very serious and carries with it maximum criminal penalties of one year in jail and a $3000 fine. If convicted there are also mandatory minimum penalties of $1000 and 30 days in jail. Different Judges give different sentences. As a result, understanding your Judge and knowing how to change Judge's can be an important part of the process. There is also a civil case that results in the revocation of your driver's license. On a third degree offense, you may be revoked for up to six months. This is a separate case even though the challenges are largely the same. In order to challenge you license revocation, you must seek a judicial review by filing a petition within 30 days of the offense.There are also additional consequences to a conviction including skyrocketing insurance rates, plate impoundments and sometimes vehicle forfeitures. There are many challenges to a DWI. Officers must follow very specific steps as part of the arrest. If any one step is missing, the case may be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    In Oregon, the second DUII charge or conviction has very serious implications and consequences, such as jail time, increased fines and fees, and a lengthier license suspension. I would recommend you consult with counsel and, if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint you and attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
    You definitely need an attorney for your second DWI, because the stakes have just gone way up. Now that you have a prior DWI, it has enhanced the current charge to a Gross Misdemeanor level, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. You are subject to mandatory minimum jail for this offense and face mandatory conditional release provisions. In addition, the period of your driver's license revocation has been greatly extended and there are other potential consequences to you, including potential license plate revocation and forfeiture of your vehicle, depending on the circumstances of your case. Of course, you can go to court without an attorney, just like you can go to the doctor's office and try to practice medicine. You cannot afford not to have an attorney, because the risks to you are great. This is exactly when you need to have competent, experienced legal representation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C.
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C. | Wayne Brucar
    You will definitely need an attorney. The consequences of a second DUI are much more significant than the first, including possible revocation of your license. If you cannot afford a private attorney, you can request the court to appoint you a public defender. The court will decide based on your financial situation. Please understand that answering this doesn't create an attorney/client relationship between us, and as hard as I try to answer your question well, it isn't legal advice. No matter how much information you put into a question, the answers you are going to get are still going to be vague. It is in your interest to contact a lawyer, most of whom will do a free consultation. Even 15 minutes with a lawyer is going to produce a more specific answer to your problem. W
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    With a second DUI you are more likely to face jail time and a i year drivers license suspension. It really is important that you have a lawyer for this one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2012
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    You have the right to represent yourself. An attorney can help you negotiate a better outcome, however, than you can on your own because he/she knows more about the applicable laws that may potentially give you more leverage. Call around to several attorneys to see if you can find one who is more affordable and who will also give you competent advice.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    You would be very unwise to go to court without an attorney....escpecially on a 2nd DUI. The penaltiesincluding jail time of a minimum of 30 or 45 daysare much harsher. If you think it's expensive hiring a lawyer, it's much more expensive to go without.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Absolutely not. A second offense DUI is very serious. If you cannot afford an attorney, apply for a court appointed one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You face mandatory jail, loss of your driving license for at least one year and additional consequences and you worry about money. Talk to several lawyers, the cost of a good one, like me is not much considering the cost of not having a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of Carl Spector
    Law Offices of Carl Spector | Carl Spector
    If you can not afford an attorney you can apply for or simply request a public defender to represent you on the new case. If you qualify for the public defender one will be appointed to represent you. Good Luck-
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No. I don't believe that there is any way that you can successfully represent yourself in criminal court. You know that you are facing jail time, right? If you truly cannot afford an attorney, then one can be appointed to represent you at no charge. You have to ask the court for this and make financial disclosure. But, you might try shopping around a little for an attorney. I know that fees, depending on the case and where it is, can range from about $1,500.00 for a quick disposition to $15,000.00 (that's the highest I've seen).
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    You CAN go to court without a lawyer, but whether you SHOULD do that is another question. If you absolutely can't afford a lawyer, but you are not eligible for a public defender, then you don't have much of a choice. Still, you are facing jail time and loss of your license. You should at least sit down with an attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    It is always best to have an attorney with you when you go to Court. If you can not afford an attorney request that the Court appoint you one.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We are criminal defense attorneys in Augusta, Georgia. We strongly recommend that you retain a criminal lawyer to help you. Arguably, the consequences might be even more serious this time and you need a good lawyer to advise you as to all your rights and options. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    This questioncomes up at least three times a week, so let's be very clear about this: ANYONE charged with a DUI needs a lawyer. Anyone charged with a second DUI needs one even more. The fines, fees, courses and evaluations is just the beginning of the costs of a DUI conviction. A DUI means your insurance rates go up to insane levels. You are no longer eligible to work in some jobs (one example; almost every commercial driving job is closed to you). Many states require jail time for second DUIs, and even more fines, fees, and costs. The law requires that your license be suspended after a second conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    A DWI 2nd is a serious offense with serious consequences. The only way to win is to have a DWI lawyer that knows DWI law, technology and has experience. Those skills will be expensive. I do not think you can afford not to get the best DWI lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    In PA you are looking at a 30-60 day jail sentance and a 1 year loss of driver's license..A knowledgeable attorney can do much do reduce or eliminate those penalties.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    You can go to court without a lawyer. You have the right to represent yourself. Does not mean it is a good idea, especially on a 2nd DUI. If you cannot afford a lawyer, ask the court to appoint a Public Defender. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of Jacek W. Lentz
    Law Offices of Jacek W. Lentz | Jacek W. Lentz
    You are foolish is you do not get an attorney. With the 2nd time DUI you are looking at mandatory jail time and losing your license for one year. If you cannot afford a private lawyer, a public defender will be appointed for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
    While you do not have to hire an attorney to represent you in a second DUI case the government may seek a longer jail sentence upon conviction for a second DUI so the services of a attorney skilled in DUI defense may keep you out of a longer time in jail.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Marilyn J. Hochman
    Marilyn J. Hochman | Hochman and Peppler, LLC
    If you can't afford an attorney you should fill out an indigency application and a public defender will be appointed to represent you. You do need to have and attorney because he or she is specifically trained to look into all the legal issues and your defense can be complicated.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    You never have to get an attorney. But, since a second DUI carries mandatory jail time as well as other repercussions that can affect you the rest of your life, you would be very foolish to proceed without a lawyer. If you are considered indigent, you are eligible for the Public Defender. The PDs are very good and experienced attorneys, just very busy and over-loaded. If you make too much money for the PD, ask the court if they can refer you to a near-indigent panel. If all this fails, just shop around. Attorneys are negotiable and they want business. Many good attorneys would do a second DUI for around $2K, maybe less. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of James Christie, LLC
    Law Office of James Christie, LLC | James Christie
    If you don't have the financial ability to hire private counsel, ask the judge to appoint an attorney to represent you. Representing yourself is not advised. You are certainly entitled to represent yourself if you chose to do so, but keep in mind that a trained and experienced lawyer knows the law, the rules of court, and the rules of evidence, which are really the prerequisites to a successful defense.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Sarbaugh Law Firm
    The Sarbaugh Law Firm | Bruce W. Sarbaugh
    The difference between a first and second DUI is huge in terms of the potential (and probable) consequences. A second DUI can be devastating to your career, future employment, and ability to be mobile and mobile society. I absolutely recommend that you get an attorney for your second DUI - the monetary issues are far outweighed by the long-term consequences.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    It is always a good idea to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, there should be a pubic defender available to you. Most are really good as this is lal they do and, while they have way too many cases, they manage to handle them all pretty well. You always have the right to defend yourself but this road is strewn with IEDs and you do not have the training to detect them. j
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You are at a much greater risk for jail on a second offense. I would not skip on the attorney on a second offense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You can always legally represent yourself. Understand that a 2nd DUI within 10 years carries potential mandatory jail time, so consider the benefit of an attorney being able to negotiate a plea bargain or take to trial a case that you couldnt do on your own. If serious about getting counsel, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    You are not required to have a lawyer. Only a lawyer can give you the best advice in resolving your case.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    No, I would not advise that. DUI is a jailable offense and consequently if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer to represent you in this matter, you're entitled to request that the court appoint one for you.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    If you thought they were too much money then shop around to find the best and most affordable attorney. Call me today to discuss pricing options. My clients are always surprised at how affordable a great attorney like myself is. You absolutely need to hire an attorney because the DUI can affect the rest of your life and the right attorney is everything!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Moule & Frank
    Moule & Frank | David Moule
    Yes, you should have an attorney for a second DUI, as the penalties are worse for a second DUI. If you can't afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for you. Many defendants qualify for diversion for a first DUI, and don't need an attorney for that purpose.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    First of all, your last lawyer may not have done a good job for you. A second DUI is more serious, with more exposure, so you should speak with an attorney first before deciding what to do. Most attorneys offer free consultations. But act fast, because you have only 10 days for your attorney (or you) to contact the DMV before losing your license by default for at least a year.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You can always check with a public defender and have them represent you. While it may cost a lot for DUI defense, have you considered what it would mean if you had to spend time in Jail
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Office of Mark Schamel
    The Law Office of Mark Schamel | Mark E Schamel
    Second DUI cases have enhanced penalties assuming you were convicted the first time. If you can afford going to jail, losing your license and having a conviction than you can afford not having a lawyer. Mark E. Schamel
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    No, you need to get a lawyer. You are looking at up to 1 year in jail & up to a $4000 fine in addition to the loss of your driver's license upon a conviction. If you do not have the funds to hire a lawyer, then you may qualify for a court appointed lawyer. You must be indigent - without property, diabled, working full time but at a low paying job, looking for work but unable to find it, etc. When you make your first appearance in court you can talk with the court about your eligibility. Be aware that if you do not request a hearing on your driver's license matter and you either refused the breath test or failed it, your license will automatically be suspended beginning on the 40th day after you arrest. If you drive without a valid license, you could be arrested and prosecuted.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided at no expense to you" That is part of the Miranda Warnings everyone is read when they are arrested, even for DUI. So if you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be appointed to represent you. And most public defenders are highly qualified and hard working. Unfortunately they are often burdened with caseloads too great to permit them to give as much attention to a case as private counsel can. They also cannot represent you at the DoL Administrative hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    If you cannot afford an attorney, you can ask for one to be appointed. The court has its own screening process, and if you qualify, they will give you a public defender. If you do not qualify, you will not be given a public defender and you will have to hire your own lawyer. It is not recommended that you try to handle this case without a lawyer. A 2nd DUI will not be eligible for Diversion, and can carry substantial penalties, such as jail time, a large fine, and a license suspension.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Stephen W.  Lee, Attorney at Law
    Stephen W. Lee, Attorney at Law | Stephen W. Lee
    In Oklahoma they will not let you plead to a DUI without counsel, at least in the counties I practice in, and most will not appoint you an attorney if you have posted bail.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    It's hard to earn income from the inside of a jail cell. Get a lawyer. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    You can but since you are facing higher charges on your second it would be good to have an attorney. Also, you should at least get a consultation to see if there is anything that is wrong with your DUI that may help you legally.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    You don't have to.If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you free of charge.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law | Jason Overton
    You can always go to court without an attorney, but that doesn't mean that it's a good idea. You should certainly hire an attorney for a 2nd DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam | Ramona Hallam
    The second DUI sentence carries jail time in California and severe fines and penalties. If you are convicted for a DUI within 1 year of your first conviction you may suffer a lot of jail time. Additionally you will suffer a lengthy drivers license suspension. Depending upon the circumstances of the DUI, you may be able to fight it. If you do not know the law surrounding DUI's and evidence, I would not advise it as you will likely not know where your case has strengths and weaknesses. There are attorneys who will take your case for a lesser fee and do a decent job. You can go to court without an attorney, however, it might cost you more in the long run.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC
    Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC | Brandon Moffitt
    You can go without an attorney. But the best advice is always to get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Of course you can. You should definitely consult with an Attorney after you get the police and lab reports, though. You probably have no idea what might be possible with your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    A second offense carries a max jail sentence of 6 months, a license suspension, fines and court costs. An experienced attorney can assist you in getting the best result possible
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Can you afford a criminal record for life? Can you afford jail? You need a good criminal defense lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Going to court on a second is not advisable. You can apply for a public defender. If you do not qualify, you can obtain a list of lawyers who work on a sliding scale in the county of your case from the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar website.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    You can always go to court on a 2nd DUI without a lawyer but would you go into surgery without a doctor? Of course not. I do not know when your first DUI conviction was, but now that you have a prior the potential penalties are much more severe. In fact in California there is a mandatory jail time requirement for a 2nd time DUI. In addition, you may be on probation if your first DUI conviction was less than 3 year ago. The answer is you need to contact an experienced criminal defense law firm like Wallin and Klarich to discuss the specific facts of your case and what the best and worst possible outcomes are and then you can decide what to do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi | Rodney Nosratabadi
    You face a maximum of 1 year in jail for a second dui. You absolutely need an attorney to help find alternatives to jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    You definitely need representation on a second. If you haven't enough money to hire a lawyer get the public defender but do not do it yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    Here is the thing, a private attorney, after reviewing your discovery can try and get you a good deal by finding mistakes that were made. A public defender might do that, but they have so many cases, they rarely look at discovery. But to go in alone is a big mistake. Pay the $2,500 - $3,500 for a private attorney to handle your case up to trial. These cases rarely every go to trial. If you can't afford that, than, make sure you get the public defender. If you need any extra help or have any other questions, please let me know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    San Diego DUI Law Center
    San Diego DUI Law Center | Rick Mueller
    Because this is a misdemeanor, criminal courts treat these very seriously and one cannot represent oneself. If you think you can get a Public Defender, consider this: if you have a job or assets, you legally do not qualify. If you apply for a Public Defender, you will have to apply and swear under oath. If you do meet the financial eligibility criteria for a public defender for the Criminal Court side of your DUI case: (a)public defenders do not handle DMV license suspension actions; and (b)your court appointed attorney will not be available to discuss your DUI case with you until they have been officially appointed by the Judge no sooner than the date of your first court appearance, or arraignment. Being that the 10 day grace period for requesting a DMV Licensing Hearing would have already lapsed, it is strongly recommended that you retain a qualified and provena San Diego DUI Attorney Specialistto represent your quasi-civil, administrative matter with the Department of Motor Vehicles. You can only apply for a "public defender" if you show you are unemployed & have no assets. If you have no job or assets, you can't choose which attorney from the Public Defender's office you'll get. If you have no job or assets, your case will be assigned to an attorney. You may get an excellent one or one that is less than stellar. Like private attorneys, there are good and bad ones, but if you are assigned to a bad one, it's difficult to switch unless you subsequently hire private counsel. Public Defenders are notoriously overworked. While there are the good aspects I mentioned above, but their case load doesn't allow them the luxury to spend any significant amount of time with any one client. It's not their fault - just a reality of too many cases and not enough time. Private attorneys will be able to spend more time discussing your case, the options and strategy with you. Attorneys from the public defender's office start with low-level offenses (such as misdemeanor DUI cases) and work their way up. If you have no job or assets, your case may not be assigned to an attorney with very much experience (as far as number of years practicing law). Depending on the court and the number of public defenders, if you have no job or assets, you will usually get assigned based upon which attorney is "next in line". Another problem with a public defender is assigned all types of case by the court. This does not allow the public defender to really focus on one area of law and they have to be more versed in all areas. I amfortunate to only represent individuals charged with DUI; therefore,I can concentrate on one particular practice area. Hopefully you will have the opportunity to gather enough funds to contact a private attorney in your area that focuses on representing individuals charged with DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Wallin & Klarich
    Wallin & Klarich | Stephen D. Klarich
    Yes. Absolutely. Prosecutors treat multiple offenders significantly more harsh. You have greater exposure to punishment/jail/alcohol programs etc. Seek counsel or get a public defender but do not go unrepresented. You also have dmv implications and should seek a hearing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney

Need more information on drunk driving law? Visit our free DUI resource page to learn more.

If you need immediate assistance, fill out a free case evaluation form to connect with a DUI lawyer in your area today!