Should Someone Consider Representing Themselves In DUI Cases?

Shakespeare said it best in one of his Plays, “He or she who represents themselves, has a Fool for a client and an Ass for an attorney”. This quote that we often give to potential clients drives home the message to most people.  I then ask them how they would be able to represent themselves when they are both emotionally involved, and trying to defend themselves, all at the same time.

I also show them that they simply do not know the law and do not know Court procedures, as there is no reason for them to know. I tell them that they might as well just go in to Court, plead guilty, and get it over with-rather than going through the “drama and trauma” of trying to represent themselves; because representing themselves is bound to be an even bigger disaster.  I tell them that they need to get an experienced DUI Defense Attorney, and I tell them that even if they do not want to hire me, that they should hire someone who is experienced in handling at least hundreds, if not thousands, of DUI cases over many years in Northern Virginia Courts.  I urge everyone to get the best representation possible, especially ours!

What Do You Think About Public Defenders?

Public Defenders are good attorneys and they mean well.  We have all passed the same Bar Exam to become lawyers.  But, the biggest difference between a retained/private attorney and a Public Defender is that Public Defenders are almost always overworked and underpaid.  They are often young lawyers who want to get some legal experience, then move into private practice.  Even if a Public Defender has been there a long time, they are still overworked and often are forced by work and time constraints, to ask their clients to come in for short meetings; or even just meet them, for the first time, in court, often with no time for much else.

They are dedicated, hard-working, and mean well; but they just do not have the time to focus, in-depth, on any one person’s case, the way a private/retained attorney can.

Why Do People Feel So “Doomed” That They Might Not Want To Talk To An Attorney?

First, most people do have a sense of guilt or remorse about their DUI charge- because they know they were drinking, or consuming drugs, or both, and driving.  Most people instinctively know that from the legal perspective, they are likely “guilty as charged” of a DUI.

They know in their hearts that they probably drank too much that night, and were possibly over the legal limit of 0.08% BAC.  They usually know that they at least had a “Buzz”.  They are also often “Beating themselves up”, scared and confused-afraid they may lose their job, their house and their family.

People are often ashamed and embarrassed, and don’t want anyone to know they were charged with a DUI.  They certainly don’t want their bosses to know; and often don’t even want their friends or spouses to know either. They are afraid of what this will do to their career, and afraid of having a Permanent Criminal Record for the rest of their life.  By the time the person calls an attorney, their head is spinning.  They’re worried about everything.  They might have heard stories from friends who had DUIs, and they probably have gone on the Internet and read DUI “horror” stories; so they get confused with too much information and misinformation.

Do Some People Just Want To “Give Up” Because They Are Charged With A DUI?

Sure, many people call me feeling as if there is nothing anybody can do for them. Maybe they have called me only because their family, a spouse or a friend insisted that they talk to a lawyer. They often feel this way because they know that the Commonwealth of Virginia has all of its resources, (the Police, the Prosecutors and much of the law), working against them. They just feel like they don’t have a chance. But, this is not true! Everybody charged with a DUI can be helped and my office has successfully handled more than One Thousand DUI cases over over 30 years; and there isn’t a single DUI case that I can think of that we have handled where we weren’t able to do something positive to make the outcome of the case better for our client than it was when they first picked up the phone to call and talk to us.  When they do talk to us, we show them how to change their whole perspective on their case; get them “pumped- up” and excited to help us to help them in defending and attacking their DUI charge. In essence we will tell them, “Don’t Be A Victim… Fight Back! … And We’ll Show You How!”

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’re seeking by calling (703) 548-1462 today.

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