DUI: Should I Try To Represent Myself?

The individual accused of “Driving Under the Influence” ( DUI) is presented with a maze of deadlines, requirements and options that could lead to huge pitfalls with disastrous consequences, if not managed properly. It is essential that the accused have an experienced attorney to protect all of his or her legal rights and to minimize the potential risks. In fact, many judges will not accept a plea from a DUI defendant who is not represented by counsel. Even when a defendant is represented by an attorney, the judge will often ask if the client is satisfied with the representation. It is that important.

You might wonder why it is so critical to have an attorney in DUI cases. Well the answer is simple; these cases are complicated. For instance, did you know that you can be charged with a DUI even if you are not actually driving? It is true. In fact, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are driving a lawnmower or other vehicle.

In addition, Florida law allows for penalties to be imposed by the court AND by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV or DMV). This dual system provides for an administrative setting and a criminal setting. Each of these settings comes complete with its own set of rules, regulations, procedures and problems. It would be easy for an unknowing defendant to comply with the requirements of DHSMV only to have the court say that the items completed do not count toward the court imposed penalties. These kinds of consequences are easily avoidable with the help of competent counsel.

In addition to helping the client navigate the tricky issues in DUI cases, a good attorney will insure that the client asserts all his or her defenses, avails himself or herself of all available rights, and receives the best possible outcome. The issues that a good attorney will address may include the validity of the traffic stop, road sobriety tests, video evidence, evidentiary matters and the breath test. The proper management of these and other matters will help to avoid certain penalties and could result in the outright dismissal of a DUI charge.

But the most important reason to hire an attorney for DUI cases is to assert the client’s most valuable right-THE RIGHT TO TRIAL. For more than a decade, I have made it my practice to start preparing each new case for trial from day one. It is this commitment and dedication that is applied to each client’s case at Longwell Lawyers. For additional information please contact the Orlando criminal attorneys at Longwell Lawyers.

Categories: Criminal Law, Articles