Disadvantages of self-representation

Self-representation for a DUI can be hard due to unfamiliarity with proceedings, options and outcomes and the emotional strain of the situation.

Many California residents get behind the wheel after drinking too much. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.8 percent of state residents reported driving after drinking in the past 30 days. Driving under the influence can lead to deaths, injuries, arrests and criminal prosecution. With so many people getting behind the wheel after drinking, it is no surprise that drivers are caught driving under the influence. If someone is charged with a DUI, it may be tempting for him or her to try to represent him- or herself without an attorney or "pro per" as it is called. However, this is not the best option and can have unforeseen negative consequences which may have been avoided by representation of a knowledgeable and experienced DUI Defense Attorney. If you are indigent, you may apply for a public defender. It is by far in your best interest to have an attorney.

Not being familiar with the Law, Defenses, Court procedures and Negotiations

A "pro per" is expected to follow court procedures, discovery and evidentiary rules and will be against a trained prosecutor who is an attorney who knows the rules, the law, the defenses, the evidence, in addition to knowing how to negotiate and try a case. This includes discovery, rules of evidence, deadlines, motions, filing appropriate papers when needed. Court cases can complicated and have huge consequences on someone's life. Anyone who wants to take on self-representation will have a major disadvantage from the start.

Not knowing about "Plea Bargaining" and other Resolution Considerations

When someone who is unfamiliar with the law tries to play the role of lawyer, he or she may miss some major opportunities. Most DUI cases are resolved through negotiation, also called "plea bargaining". In order to plea bargain effectively you need to know the strength of your case, defenses, the factors which are important during negotiations, and be able to suggest and substantiate alternative resolutions. Knowing the Judges, the prosecutors and the Court procedures is very important in understanding which prosecutors and Judges are more likely to negotiate a favorable resolution. This can be extremely important in achieving the best result. An experienced DUI Defense Attorney is invaluable in achieving the best result in a case. Additionally, Attorneys may appear on misdemeanors without the Defendant having to attend Court.

Not understanding potential outcomes

An individual trying to handle their own case is at a severe disadvantage without the help of a knowledgeable DUI Defense Attorney in having a full understanding of the potential penalties and consequences. These consequences may include not only fines, jail, probation, programs, loss of license, alcohol monitors but also the effect on jobs, immigration, security clearances, vocational licenses etc. If a person does not fully understand what is at stake, in addition to not having a clue what to do, he or she may find out too late the negative consequences they had no idea would occur.

When a California driver is charged with driving under the influence, he or she may think they can solve the problem in "pro per", but working with an experienced attorney who is familiar with these types of cases will actually achieve the best result.