Is there a chance I can defend myself without a lawyer for a drunk & disorderly charge? 11 Answers as of June 22, 2011

Is there a chance I can defend myself without a lawyer for a drunk & disorderly charge? I was picked up 2 blocks from my house while walking by the police station...I had walked away from a emotional/intense argument and was frazzled, had been crying etc.... how can I get this dismissed? The arresting officer was training someone that day and I felt like I was a guinea pig, just happened to be in front of the station with a red face...help!

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The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
If you just want to negotiate a plea, sure. I don't ever recommend defendants represent themselves. If you cannot afford an attorney, plead not guilty and ask the court to appoint one.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/22/2011
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
You absolutely have a right to defend yourself, but why would you? You're risking a criminal conviction that will stay on your record indefinitely. This isn't something you're going to want to have to explain away on every job application in the future. I'm not sure they can prove this case against you based on what you wrote, but if you try and represent yourself, the DA will steamroll you. If you cannot afford an attorney (this shouldn't be all that expensive), you can apply for the services of the public defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/22/2011
Law Office of Andrew Roberts
Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
It's not a good idea to represent yourself.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Yes you can defend yourself. However, an attorney or Public Defender would be better.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
I'm not sure why you would not want an attorney - the court will appoint the Public Defender for you if you can't afford a lawyer. Tell your attorney your story and your defense. Chances are you will be offered a deal to simply pay a fine, maybe even have the charge reduced to an infraction. Cases are seldom outright dismissed without a very good reason to do so. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    Don't plead guilty, fight it, If you can't afford to hire private counsel, the public defender will be appointed for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Bird & Van Dyke, Inc.
    Bird & Van Dyke, Inc. | Mary Ann Bird
    Hire a lawyer or ask for a court appointed attorney. Although you can represent yourself, it is not wise to do so.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It is possible to defend yourself, although I would not recommend it. There are a lot of intricacies in defending this type of charge, or almost any criminal charge for that matter. Additionally, there are a lot of intricacies to Court procedure as well that can not be learned by reading a short article. I handle alcohol related charges regularly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It is not a good idea to try to negotiate with the prosecutor yourself. An attorney is more likely to be able to get the charge(s) dismissed. Sometimes this involves you doing some AAs, or some other type of class.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Is there a chance? Of course. You are free to represent yourself if you would like. Should you do it? That depends on you. Will you have time to research relevant legal issues and argue it accordingly, without saying the wrong thing to the DA? Do you have a sufficient understanding of legal rules, concepts and their interpretations?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Of course you can fight it. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. While this isn't a 'capital case', you certainly face potential jail and/or fines, so handle it right. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it. Go to trial if it can't be resolved with motions or a plea bargain. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict and jail you. You face two arresting officers as witnesses instead of one normal. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
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