Is it cheaper to defend yourself on a first time DUI in California? 14 Answers as of November 27, 2010

Do most people represent themselves on a first time DUI because it is cheaper? Is this true? I only have speeding tickets and I did not hurt anybody and it was a .09. Nobody was in the car with me. The last speeding ticket was in 2005.

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Law Office of Marc K. Herbert
Law Office of Marc K. Herbert | Marc K. Herbert
It may be cheaper in the short run to represent yourself, but you may receive longer probation and more jail time, with higher fines and higher insurance premiums, in the long run.

Also, you may want to retain a defense lawyer to represent you at the DMV hearing, to protect your driver's license. Please be advised that the deadline for requesting this DMV hearing is 10 days from the date of your arrest.

This charge also involves several lesser offenses, which the DA or judge may not discuss with you if you represent yourself. Also, you may not be able to review the evidence against you or to research possible defenses if you represent yourself.

If you have more questions, please call my office.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/27/2010
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
It is always cheaper not to hire an attorney. Remember the expression though, "Penny wise and pound foolish". Sometimes an attorney can save you a conviction, a more serious offense or a greater penalty sometimes not. On a first offense DUI many people represent themselves and simply plead guilty thinking that it is too expensive to hire an attorney and not worth it. Given the effect of a DUI on your insurance rates and DMV record not to mention it is a criminal conviction you would have to report on job applications etc. it might be worth at least getting a consultation with a good lawyer. With a .09 he might not only suggest that you have defense to a DUI but perhaps could get the charge reduced to a lesser offense.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/25/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
It will be cheaper in the sense of not paying an attorney. It may be costlier in the sense that you will be representing yourself against a professional prosecutor trying to convict you and put you in jail. Effective plea bargaining, using whatever defenses and sympathies you may have, could keep you out of jail, depending upon all the facts and evidence. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help you use whatever defenses you may have. If you can't afford private counsel, apply for the Public Defender.

A little free legal advice: When you are arrested for DUI, upon release from jail or booking, you were given documents that included a notice from DMV that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of the automatic one-year suspension of your license. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled hearing and present your evidence and testimony. If you don't know how to do these things, then hire
an attorney that does.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/23/2010
The Law Office of Stacey Wolcott
The Law Office of Stacey Wolcott | Stacey Wolcott
Of course it is cheaper to represent yourself on a first time DUI; however, you have no legal training. An attorney will be able to look at your police report with a legal eye to see if the police did everything properly and complied with all the requirements. Also an attorney will be
able to make a determination if it is possible to negotiate for a lesser charge and negotiate
that with the District Attorney. There are sometime when spending the money for an attorney is a smart decision because it may save you money in the long run. Please feel free to contact my office and schedule a free consultation where we can discuss all the issues mentioned above.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/23/2010
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
Many people do represent themselves on 1st offense DUI s. However with a 09 B/A it would pay to get an attorney because it would enhance your chances of a reduction. A " wet reckless " is very possible. For more info or to retain us call
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/23/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    A DUI is a serious offense. I recommend hiring an Attorney as the penalties can be severe, and even include jail time and very large fines. A good DUI attorney can avoid both. Was there a car accident involved? Although your BAC level is over the legal limit, it is just over. I have been very successful in getting DUI charges dismissed with BAC levels at .09. Call me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
    Steven Mandell
    Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
    Do most people represent themselves on a first time DUI because it is cheaper? If they do, they're being foolish. It may be "cheaper” because they don't pay for a lawyer. But since they don't know the first thing about representing themselves, they almost invariably end up with a much worse result, ultimately costing them much, much more in money, seriousness of conviction, immediate consequences, collateral consequences and long term consequences. And, a good criminal lawyer, well versed in DUI and DMV law and procedure, can often do more for a person with a blood alcohol level of .09 than for a person with a much higher concentration. So, the old adage: "A person who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer" is often all too true. Most criminal lawyers give free consultation. Take one or two. Then decide how you want to proceed. But hurry. You have only 10 days from the date of arrest to take some steps at the DMV. If you do not do that, you lose substantial rights. If your case is in Los Angeles County, feel free to call me for a free consultation. Cannot be much cheaper than that!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    It is cheaper to defend yourself but is very unwise to do so. As many would say, "He Who Represents Himself Has a Fool For a Client." There may be defenses to the charges and .09 is a low blood alcohol which likely could be reduced to a lessor offense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes, it may be cheaper right this moment, but probably isn't a good idea down the road. DUI fines are already close to $2000. You might find yourself saving money on the attorney fees, but paying them back to the government in the form of DUI fees. If you get a good lawyer and the DUI is significantly reduced or dropped, you may end up saving a lot more money. Remember that DUI comes with alcohol classes, increase in insurance premiums, worse credit scores...etc. Represent yourself and you might be saving 1 dollar and spending 5 down the road.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If you want to plea guilty you do not need an atrorney. If you want to fight it you do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    You may have a defensible case. You will want to get counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    The only reason to have a lawyer in this situation as some DAs MIGHT lower a .09 DUI to a wet reckless and generally you will need a lawyer to do this. However first ask the lawyer if this particular court (DAs) will allow a reduction on a .09. If he doesn't know, find a lawyer who does. If there is no possibility ofa reduction, then do it yourself as it is a standard file and on a first it is a waste of money to hire a lawyer. Some people hire them as they are afraid to go to court alone but if that is not your situation, do it yourself. Good luck.You can use the money you save on the lawyer to pay the outrageous fine which is around $1800, and also pay for the first time driving school.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
    Hale Law Group
    Hale Law Group | Joshua D. Hale
    I would never suggest defending yourself on a DUI, it is a misdemeanor, and you do not know the system.

    It is true that it is your choice, but I would not suggest going it alone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2010
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