The simple answer is NO. I have been advising and representing people on DUI related cases for a long time now, and with hundreds of clients under my belt I can confidently tell you that a lawyer is not required to handle your case to conclusion. Let that sink in….
Now, I don’t know what you have been told in the past, but the court is very accommodating to those that have been arrested for DUI, and simply want to plead guilty to the charge of DUI. Let that sink in…..
The court will allow you to speak to a public defender while you are standing there in court, and if you choose to plead guilty at your initial arraignment appearance, the court process could be over that day. A standard offer for a first time is:
- Fines ranging from $1,500-4,000
- Court Fees ranging from $100-$500
- 4 month CA drivers license suspension
- 3 years summary/informal probation
- Misdemeanor arrest and conviction, which is on your record forever
- 40 Hours Alcoholics Anonymous or equivalent classes.
Although taking the above outlined course of action is possible, its_never_ in your best interest. The bottom line here is that you have been arrested for committing a crime here in CA. The Court system is not your friend – literally. The prosecutors sole duty in life is to attempt to levy as much punishment as possible against you for your infractions. The Court takes absolutely no mercy in pandering to your lack of knowledge on the court process, and assumes you are prepared and ready to present your case fully to the court when your case is called. Not one person in the room will consider the fact that you have never been in trouble, EVER. The fact that you work 60 hours a week to support your family, pay the bills, and still manage to have family dinner 5 nights a week. No one!
Although a lawyer is absolutely not required, if you have the ability to retain the services of an aggressive and competent attorney, your chances of success blow the roof off going it alone. If I have a car problem, I call the mechanic. If I have a heart problem, I call my doctor. If you have a legal problem, at least call a lawyer and pick their brain on what needs to be done to make sure that everything that can be done, is being done to increase your chances of success. Better yet, if your financial resources allow you to retain a lawyer that is really going to fight your case, please do so.
If your only reason for not hiring a lawyer is financial in nature, I completely understand. Believe me, I understand. Law school Loans, Undergrad loans from USC, Mortgage, Kids, Wife, etc…. I understand. So please believe me when I say that this is not a sales pitch for hiring this firm. This is a sales pitch for hiring professionals to do professional work. Not just for law, but in life.
All too often I get a call from someone who got some bad advice rom a friend, pled guilty, and now is asking me what can be done to help get this conviction off her record because it’s causing her grief in an employment/marriage/benefits/immigration/custody issue. The truth is, reversing something after it has already been done is much harder than handling it appropriately in the first place. And it’s always more expensive. Do the right thing, do the research, hire a great lawyer, and make sure they are on top of their game. If you can’t hire a lawyer, educate yourself in any way you can, read books, go to legal libraries, talk to lawyers, and then….. hire a lawyer. Good Luck