Do you need a lawyer for a First Time DUI even if you plead guilty?

Asked about 4 years ago - Chicago, IL

A few weeks ago I was caught for DUI and blew 3 times the legal limit. I was not arrested since there was no accident and I appeared fairly sober to the officer. I plan on pleading guilty to my first DUI and just paying the fine since the lawyers I talked to said their rates will be more than the DUI itself. Is it really dangerous to plead guilty to my first DUI or do I need a DUI lawyer? Is there a chance I'll go to jail? Should I declare myself indigent for a public defender?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Michael J. Helfand

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . Yes, I think you need a DUI attorney. A DUI is a serious offense and a conviction can have long term consequences. It's not a good idea to plead guilty to anything without talking to an attorney first. An experienced attorney who is familiar with the courthouse, judges and prosecutors is in a good position to negotiate a better outcome. I can recommend an attorney I know who should be able to help. If you'd like a referral, or if you have further questions about the pros and cons of hiring an attorney, feel free to give me a call. 1-800-517-1614. - Mike

  2. Donald John Ramsell

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . If you do not get a DUI lawyer, you need to know that you face the possible revocation of your driving privileges, plus up to $2500.00 in fines, counselling, and up to 1 year in jail. If you believe you have the negotiating skills and know-how to avoid these from happening, then skip the lawyer. if you do not want to risk this (remember, once you know the outcome it is generally too late to hire a lawyer) then hire a good DUI lawyer now.

  3. Eric T. Perry


    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Don't go it alone. Take note of Mr. Ramsell's advise. Your freedom, driving privileges, future employment opportunities and finances are all at stake. Even if the state can prove the case against you, an experienced attorney like Mr. Ramsell will usually get you a more favorable outcome because the state knows he will hold them to their burden of proof. And remember, it is the State's burden to prove your guilt.

    Also, in a DUI prosecution, an experienced lawyer will petition to rescind your suspension, where a public defender won't.

  4. Andrew Daniel Myers

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Do not weigh the value of legal services against only the fee and the consequences that you see at this time.

    There are many long range consequences to a DUI conviction that the police and prosecutors may or may not get around to explaining to you before hastily filling out the forms to take the guilty plea.

    By all means do whatever you can do to obtain counsel that will advise you of your rights under the DUI law.

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