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The cons of self-representation for a DUI

Many people who are charged with DUI choose to represent themselves rather than retain a lawyer or go with a public defender. This is your right, of course, but representing yourself in court can come with significant downsides.

1. Attorneys probably know the judges and prosecutors

If you choose an attorney from your town, chances are good that he or she will know the judges and prosecutors who are involved or who become involved in your case. This type of rapport should increase the odds of you being treated fairly. Ask private practice attorneys how they might help in this regard.

2. Attorneys often pay for themselves

An attorney's hourly fee can seem downright scary. However, remember what you stand to lose if you are found guilty. You may go to jail, lose your job and have to pay fines. An ignition interlock device may also be required. Next to these mounting costs, attorney fees are reasonable. Plus, many attorneys offer discounts or payment plans. Then there is the fact that a conviction usually means your car insurance rates go up astronomically.

3. Attorneys have specialized knowledge

You may not know about important deadlines you need to meet. For example, you have 15 days from your arrest to ensure you can work to keep your driver's license. A public defender can help in such situations, but a private attorney should have more time and resources to devote to your case.

4. You may not have the time

Do you have the time to devote to the many aspects involved in a DUI defense? Not only do you need to learn about deadlines and forms, you may need to study plea bargains and miss work for court. Odds are you have other responsibilities, too, such as family duties.

5. You could hurt yourself

Attorneys can keep you from giving incriminating information or other information that can be twisted to police. It is best to stay silent until your attorney arrives.

6. It is your second or third DUI

Having good representation is important no matter how many times you have been arrested for DUI. However, since the potential consequences are more severe if you have a record, having an attorney is even more important.

You may be in a hurry to resolve your DUI case and move on. That said, taking a few minutes to get in touch with an attorney could end up saving you thousands of dollars and your job, and keep your record clean.

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