5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Handle a DUI Case Without a Lawyer
If you’re reading this article, chances are you or someone you know is considering representing themselves in court.
We’re going to discuss why we’d strongly advise against doing this. The criminal and DUI laws of every state are complex and have many pitfalls meaning you should seek experienced legal representation.
Here are five reasons why:
Possibility of Self-Incrimination
During your court case, you will be asked multiple questions regarding the arrest and the events leading up to it. How you answer these questions can self-incriminate yourself digging your hole even deeper.
You may think something you’re saying will help you, only for it to do the opposite. An experienced DUI attorney will know your rights and cover many topics on your behalf while in court.
It should come as no surprise that representing yourself in court will be time-consuming. On the contrary, when you hire a lawyer, you have access to their entire staff and knowledge base built on years or decades of practicing law.
Due to the legal deadlines for appearing in court and filing the necessary paperwork, time is not on your side. The more complex your case, the more time you will spend in court.
The majority of people who represent themselves find the process to be far more time-consuming and stressful than they previously thought.
Emotions Run High
You may not realize this until you’re in court, but your emotions will be running on overdrive. When this happens, we tend to act in a way we’re not accustomed to and make decisions that are against our best interests.
A good criminal defense attorney can help you keep your emotions at bay and do a lot of the heavy lifting for you while you deal with this stressful situation.
Lack of Experience
I’ll be honest, many people who choose the self-representation route are overconfident. The law is extremely complex and even experienced attorneys have trouble navigating through it.
- Are you aware of the paperwork you’ll need to file for your case?
- Do you know what items to contest and how to contest them?
Becoming an attorney takes 8+ years, plus many years of practice to be considered experienced.
The odds are stacked against you if you want to accumulate decades of experience needed to present your case in the best light possible.
No Expert Witnesses
In criminal defense, an expert witness is someone who can provide technical or scientific insights that may not be common knowledge to judges, attorneys, jurors, and defendants.
Since expert witnesses have no personal stake in a criminal case like an eyewitness, victim, or police officer, their testimony will be persuasive to your defense.
For example, in a DUI case, you may have had a medical condition that may have caused the tests to give false positives. Attorneys typically have access to these types of people to help with your case.
With all of these reasons combined, you can now see how time-consuming it can be to represent yourself in court. Not only will it cost you time upfront, but time & money on the backend. In other words, any money you may save from representing yourself in court will be lost through fines, court fees, and the consequences.
If you’re still set on representing yourself in court, at the very least give an attorney the time of day for a free consultation. Although they’ll expect and give you good reason to become a client, you are not obligated to do so.
If you don’t have the financial means to pay for an attorney, the public defender’s office can appoint you one. A public defender is many times better than self-representation.
About Shawn Haff
Shawn Haff is the owner of The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan. He received his J.D. from Cooley Law School in 2009 and currently represents individuals charged with criminal offenses like drug possession, drunk driving, and criminal sexual conduct.