Can Someone Successfully Represent Themselves In A DUI Case?

Some people who are charged with DUI believe that they can handle everything on their own. That’s a recipe for disaster. You are at the mercy of the prosecutor. He or she just fills out the paperwork and hands it over to the judge. Then, the judge simply says, “Here is what you need to do.” A lot of people don’t realize the importance of completing those requirements.

Often these people are thinking, “I’m done with this, and I can get back to my life as soon as I leave this courtroom.” The fact is, there are many classes that have to be completed. I see a lot of people who don’t realize the importance, thought they could do it on their own, left the courtroom, and didn’t complete the requirements. They get hauled back into court and likely end up with a conviction on their record.

As a service to my clients, right at the beginning of the case, I hand them a document with a list of contacts for the various evaluations and classes that they are going to need to take. Even if it’s looking like a dismissal might happen, I still have my clients start the required classes and evaluations. A dismissal is not always guaranteed, so this helps my clients in two ways: one, they’re able to get the classes and evaluations out of the way so that when it comes time to actually have to do them, they are already done; two, completing the classes and evaluations early can usually improve the plea offer.

If someone were to plead guilty quickly, then he or she doesn’t have the opportunity to complete some of the classes and get a better offer. The difference could be between two years of probation and just one or between a deferred and suspended sentence. In general, pleading guilty quickly to get it out of the way is a bad idea. Other things to consider when pleading—even to a deferred—is your immigration status and whether or not you have a CDL.

An attorney can evaluate the case to spot issues that could lead to dismissal or a more favorable plea offer. There are a variety of reasons why a case might be dismissed. Evidence may have been illegally obtained and therefore can be thrown out. The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests might have been administered incorrectly. The police officer may have been fired. The breath test machine may not have been functioning properly. These are all things that you would not find out if you represented yourself.

Additionally, if you plead guilty to a first DUI offense, you now have a DUI conviction on your record for purposes of enhancing the next DUI to a felony. DUI is an enhanceable offense, which means a DUI conviction will enhance the range of punishment and the severity of subsequent offenses. An attorney would explain all of this so that you could make an informed decision. Not having an attorney can lead to surprises and worse outcomes.

For more information on Self Representation In A DUI Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 633-3420 today.