Is it cheaper to represent myself in a first time DUI? 12 Answers as of October 06, 2010

Will retaining an attorney actual help me with my DUI? This is my first DUI and I have a clean driving and legal record. I have heard that most people do not get a lawyer for a first time charge. Is this true? It seems like it would be cheaper to represent myself. I was arrested in California.

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

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Desert Defenders
Desert Defenders | John Jimenez
Yes, hiring an attorney will probably save you money in the long run. Most people can get their cases resolved much more favorably when they have an attorney representing them. People who don't hire an attorney for their first offense generally regret it later, whether they have a later offense or not.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2010
Hale Law Group
Hale Law Group | Joshua D. Hale
Good attorneys look for what you do not know to look for. What you have heard is most likely being told by people that had NO legal defenses. You may have a defense and not even know it, you may not. I would suggest hiring an attorney.

If you want to discuss this further, please call my office at your convenience.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2010
Law Offices of Ramona Hallam
Law Offices of Ramona Hallam | Ramona Hallam
Yes! It is cheaper to go in by yourself initially. It might cost you more in the long run depending on the facts of the case, whether there was probable cause to stop you, etc. You really should go with a retained attorney. A clean driving record will not prevent the law from coming down hard on you- and your best chance of a successful case, if there are any issues that might save you, is with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Of course its cheaper in the sense you do not pay attorney fees.

What can you do? Defend the charges. Go to court, enter a not guilty plea if appropriate, arrange bail reduction or OR, set up and attend the court hearing[s] and trial date[s], file motions as applicable, go to trial if it cannot be resolved with a plea bargain. Raise all the available defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments for plea bargaining or at trial. If you do not know how to do these things, then hire an attorney that does, who can likely get a decent plea bargain for you. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me.

Keep in mind: When you are arrested for DUI, upon release from jail or booking, you were given documents that include 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. You can hire an attorney for that hearing as well.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2010
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
While it is cheaper it certainly is unwise unless you have thorough knowledge of the applicable law. There are potential defenses that can be raised to either defend a DUI or mitigate the sentence. You should always have an attorney investigate the facts to determine if any of these defenses are present. Those people who go into court and plead guilty without an attorney are very foolish.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2010
    The Law Office of Denis White
    The Law Office of Denis White | Denis Hurley White Jr.
    There is no way to tell you with certainty, at the front end of a case, whether you will save money by hiring a lawyer. I can tell you this though. If you do not involve a lawyer you may never know if there was something that could have been done to save your drivers license, save money on insurance, get the case dismissed or reduced, or save jail time. You should hire a lawyer with the idea that you are buying the peace of mind that someone that knows what they are doing is guiding you through the process, so that you do not make things worse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Wise Law Group
    Wise Law Group | Michael J. Wise, Esq
    It really depends on the facts of your case. DUI cases can be formulaic in the sense that they have mandatory minimum sentences based on different levels of conduct or prior record. However, it can also be to your advantage to have an attorney review your file to see if there are applicable defenses or otherwise determine if you should simply resolve the case or fight it. Also, in many instances, an attorney may be able to reduce the potential sentence on a matter. Each case is different.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It may or may not be cheaper to represent yourself. A good attorney may be able to get charges dismissed, lower fees and fines from the Court, keep you out of jail, etc. For example, I have had over 30 DUI charges dismissed this year alone, saving clients thousands of dollars by the time the dust settled. Keep in mind that the Court adds what they call "penalty assessments" to every fine. For a First offense DUI by statute, the fine can be between $390 - 1,000. A $1,000 fine would turn into somewhere around the $4,500 after penalty assessments. Keeping the fine to the $390 mark cuts that number down significantly. Additionally, if there is a fine due to the Court, a good attorney can get alternatives to drastically reducing that fine.

    A DUI charge is serious, and unless you are ready to spend a good amount of time learning the law and rules of court, it is not advisable to represent yourself for this type of charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2010
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    There are many factors that are present in DUI offenses. I would never recommend self-representation without at least reviewing the specifics of your case with an attorney. It takes experienced counsel to review all of the possible permutations of your case and the available defenses and alternatives.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2010
    Steven Mandell
    Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
    Its cheaper initially to represent yourself. You do not have any lawyers fees. However, it can end up costing you much more in the long run, because without a lawyer, you might not get the best possible result, costing you dearly in many, many ways. It is not true that most people do not use a lawyer in a first offense DUI. DUI cases have become the most complex and severely punished misdemeanors known to mankind. You should have a lawyer experienced in DUI and DMV matters. Most criminal lawyers give free consultations. If you would like to talk to me about this matter, please do not hesitate to call. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yeah, it is certainly cheaper to represent yourself. Just keep in mind the age old saying, "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." Whether it is a first, second, third....etc it is NEVER wise to represent yourself. Not only will you get personally/emotionally involved, prosecutors simply will not negotiate with you. If you represent yourself, I can already predict the outcome; a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2010
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    A DUI attorney can be very useful even to someone that has been charged with a first time offense for a DUI. When you are charged with a DUI you will have to work with both the court and the DMV. The court can impose possible jail time and the DMV controls your license to drive. It may cost more to hire an attorney but if they are able to get the case reduced or dismissed it will save you significant amount of money in the future.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2010
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney