Getting a California DUI charge can greatly disrupt your life. You've probably heard that DUIs are costly, especially if you have to get a DUI attorney. You may be wondering if you can handle a California DUI charge on your own if you don't want to spend that kind of money. Handling a criminal charge on your own is a big risk. California DUI laws are far from simple. You will have to understand these laws to successfully represent yourself. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, however, your defense will be in the hands of a professional. This will give you the best chance at beating your charge or getting a minimum sentence.
DUI laws in California are fairly strict, and you will face a range of harsh penalties if you are convicted. These penalties will come from both the criminal courts and the DMV. That means you could have two hearings and two outcomes. Winning your criminal case does not mean the DMV won't suspend your driving privileges. Likewise, prevailing at your DMV hearing does not mean your criminal case will be dropped.
You have a right to an attorney or a public defender if you cannot afford a private attorney. You are allowed to represent yourself in any criminal proceeding if you want to, but this typically isn't wise. You should know that there are minimum and maximum penalties for a California DUI charge. Your fines and jail time could vary based on the facts and circumstances of your case and your history of past offenses. Having an attorney assist you with fighting your charge could mean the difference between 48 hours and six months of jail time.
You can theoretically beat a DUI charge on your own, but it would be very difficult unless you already had a thorough knowledge of California DUI law, DMV administrative proceedings, and the sentencing tendencies of the judges who may be hearing your case. A dedicated California DUI defense attorney will know the ins and outs of DUI defense and can use that knowledge of the system and judges to your advantage.
If you choose to represent yourself, several things can happen. First, if you don't know the criminal court procedures, you risk not following to them. This can put you on a judge's bad side even if it was an accident. It is always best to have an attorney to advise you on the procedures so you don't annoy the judge.
Second, you may be unprepared for your arraignment. This is the first hearing you will appear at for your DUI charge. The arraignment is not the place to argue your side of the story against the officer's. You could jeopardize your case if you try to do this at the arraignment.
Third, you may not know how to take advantage of your options. This can limit your possible defense strategies. You have options for what you can do at the arraignment, how you can plea, and what defenses, if any, you will rise. Without knowing all the options you risk missing out on a chance to get your charges dropped.
Also, if your case goes to trial, it can be very difficult to negotiate a plea bargain before the trial date on your own. This is where a skilled DUI defense attorney can be well worth the investment. A plea bargain is a deal your attorney can work out with the district attorney and the judge. Usually, this results in you accepting a lesser charge in exchange for a guilty plea. This can save you a DUI charge and should not be overlooked as a possibility. A plea bargain is a negotiation. Attorneys are particularly skilled in legal negotiations and often have report with district attorneys and judges. This could be used to your advantage.
Consult with an experienced California criminal defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges. Representing yourself is not a substitute for the skill and experience of an attorney who specializes in DUI defense. If you are serious about beating your California DUI charge, having an attorney help you is the best investment you can make.
Are you or a loved one facing DUI charges? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Experienced in DUI defense, our Visalia area legal team can ensure you take the right steps toward having a strong defense. Attorney Martens has over ten years experience in criminal defense and has taken over 50 cases to trial; he has the experienced needed to skillfully handle DUI trials. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.