Many people consider representing themselves when charged with a crime. Even though driving while under the influence of intoxicants is serious, some individuals are tempted to take their chances. The law allows anyone to appear on their own behalf. This is legally known as appearing “pro se”. However, the fact that it’s a legal option doesn’t mean it’s a smart choice. The more serious the charges are, the more consideration you should give to hiring a skilled, experienced DUI attorney. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you shouldn’t represent yourself in court.
A DUII is a Big Deal
Some people believe that drunk driving charges are no big deal since there’s no violence involved. The frequency with which people are charged with DUIs may also make it appear that it’s a minor offense. People can be especially nonchalant about first-time DUIs. However, DUI charges are nothing to scoff at even if you’ve never been in trouble before. A conviction can result in jail time, high fines, and driver’s license suspension. The conviction stays on your record forever and it can affect your ability to get into college or get a job. The consequences are simply too significant to take the risk of representing yourself.
You Won’t Have the Resources to Build a Strong Case
You may think that if you simply tell the truth, you’ll get off. However, criminal cases are a lot more complicated than that. Defending anyone against criminal charges is difficult. Often it involves investigation, research, eyewitness interviews, and even tracking down experts. If you’ve never done any of this before, you probably don’t know where to turn for evidence. It’s best to leave the job to the experts who handle these matters every day.
Judges Won’t Give You Any Special Privileges
The judge is unlikely to go easy on you just because you’ve chosen to represent yourself. They won’t explain courtroom procedures or break down complicated pieces of legislation. The court won’t wait for you to familiarize yourself with how to introduce evidence or question witnesses. You will be treated as if you were an attorney. If you know you’re not up to the task, don’t attempt to handle your case on your own. You may save money by not hiring a Portland DUI lawyer, but you could face such stiff penalties that you immediately regret your decision.
You’ll Lack Experience
Even rookie lawyers struggle in court after spending three years in law school. Even with senior attorneys and paralegals to help them prepare, they can still lose cases. Often, it’s because of their lack of professional experience. You’ll be at an even bigger disadvantage if you attempt to represent yourself.
You’ll Lack Objectivity
Even if you’re an attorney, paralegal or law student, you still shouldn’t try to represent yourself. You can’t be objective about your own case. Your feelings will get involved no matter how much you try to remain rational or professional. Comments that wouldn’t bother an objective defense attorney may offend you and cause you to lash out. In addition, you may not able to see the areas in which your defense is weak.
You Won’t Know the Players in Your Case
An attorney who has been practicing for a long time is likely to know the judge, prosecutors, and even police officers involved in the case. They may have a good professional working relationship or on the other hand, they may have butted heads often. Even if they’ve never met, the lawyer may know their reputations and track records. You will be a complete novice. You won’t be able to anticipate these individuals’ reactions or tailor your approach accordingly. There’s simply no reason to put yourself in such a position.
You May Self-Incriminate
In your attempt to clear your name, you may actually end up implicating yourself. Most people don’t know the comments that could get them in trouble. That’s why you were reminded of your right to legal counsel when you were arrested. When you have an attorney, they will do all or most of the speaking on your behalf to protect you against self-incrimination.
Contact the Trilogy Law Group Today to Get the Help You Need
DUI charges mean that your freedom, reputation, finances, and future are at stake. Few people want to take such risks when they have their lives ahead of them. Instead of trying to represent yourself, devote your energy to finding skilled Portland DUI attorneys who will fight for you. Call the Trilogy Law Group today to give yourself the best possible chance of escaping conviction.