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Can I Handle a DUI Trial on My Own?

Posted by Christopher Martens | Jan 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Trials With No Errors

If you are facing DUI charges and want to fight them, you may be considering whether trial is right for you. If you decide to go to trial to fight your charges, your next decision will be whether or not to hire a trial attorney.  

You may not need a criminal defense attorney if you are pleading guilty to a crime, but if you are fighting your charges and going all the way to trial, think again before decide to represent yourself.

A criminal trial is a costly endeavor. It could save you from being convicted, but it is almost always an investment of your time and resources. At a minimum, you will have to pay certain court fees as well as attorney's fees. Trial attorneys can vary quite a bit in their hourly rates, and experienced trial attorneys will generally cost more than inexperienced ones. Bear in mind, however, that an attorney is going to significantly increase your chances of being acquitted. You are legally permitted to represent yourself at trial, but here are a few reasons why you'd be taking a big risk if you did so:


Will a jury believe you if it is just you providing your defense? Trials involve more than just getting on the stand and arguing that you are innocent. You have the right to do so, but sometimes it is best to say as little as possible. A jury is just a group of your peers who have their own biases and preconceived ideas about driving under the influence. A skilled criminal trial attorney will have the skills and experience to successfully argue in your favor in front of the judge, the jury, and the prosecuting attorney. This can build up your credibility in court. Having a skilled legal mind on your side can make all the difference.

Expert Witnesses

Most DUI trials that end in the defendant's favor involve testimony from expert witnesses. Toxicologists frequently appear in DUI trials to provide testimony on how alcohol affects the body and how that applies to the defendant's case. Medical experts can provide testimony on how a certain medical condition or diet can cause erroneously high BAC levels. And an engineer or technician may be able to provide testimony on how a breathalyzer device can provide false readings. But you don't want to hire just anybody. An experienced trial attorney will know how to find the best expert witnesses in your area. This is a big expense; expert witnesses typically charge high hourly rates because their testimony is so valuable and they are putting their reputation on the line every time they provide testimony in a case. An attorney can help you make sure you make the best investment in your expert witness.


Trials can get complicated. To maximize your chances of success, you might need to file motions for the court to grant certain reliefs. You can file a motion to suppress unlawfully obtained evidence or to strike a prior offense from your record so it isn't used against you. Both of these actions take legal knowledge and skill.

You shouldn't do this alone. Motions are complex legal actions that the judge can grant or deny. This is where an attorney is really necessary. An attorney will know when it is appropriate to file a motion in a case and when it is a waste of time.

If you are heading to trial, consult with an experienced California criminal trial attorney. Trials require specialized experience. You will need an attorney familiar with the rules and procedures of trial to represent you successfully. Don't risk your case on an attorney who is learning the rules along the way. Sometimes, trial can give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction. Other times, it may be in your best interests to accept a plea bargain from the prosecution. Speak with an attorney to make sure you are making all the right decisions in your DUI case.

If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and have questions about DUI trials, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. California DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens will work hard to defend your rights and help you fight any charges you may face. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of criminal defense practice and can fight hard for your rights in court. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.

About the Author

Christopher Martens

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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