This is often a question that defendants will ask, thinking that DUI charges under North Dakota law are a routine matter, and they can save themselves some money. The question you must ask yourself is not whether you can handle your own case (after all, there is no legal requirement for a lawyer), but whether you should handle your own case. The answer to that is no.
You need to know all your legal options before you accept a quick plea deal in your case. Remember that the prosecutor has a wide range of possible punishments that they can seek. They have every incentive to move your case through the system quickly, get a plea deal and move on to the next case.
DUI is a crime that has escalating punishment for repeat offenses. Even if this is your first offense, it could form the basis for much more serious punishment in the future. Having a DUI on your record could impact you professionally and personally. This is something that you need to think about before you decide what to do.
In addition, you may have legal defenses to the charges against you. As a defendant, you should not plead guilty to make the matter go away if you are innocent. An attorney would investigate your case to learn if there are any weaknesses to law enforcement’s case. There could be legal problems with the evidence against you, or they may have otherwise violated your legal rights. You would have no way of knowing this without an attorney. You should first understand whether there are any possible legal defenses to know the complete picture. Only then can you make any decisions.
Defendants who try to represent themselves, even in cases that may seem simpler, will likely end up with worse results than those who have the help of an attorney. Trying to handle your own DUI case to save money misses some of the bigger picture. Not only are there high stakes, but you are likely under stress from the legal process and cannot handle it and make the right decisions about your case at the same time.
We recognize that an attorney costs money, but it is worth it to protect your legal rights. This is even more true if you are dealing with a second or third offense DUI charge, where there can be significant jail time involved. Your driver’s license is not a luxury, and it is at risk in any DUI case.
Contact our law firm as soon as possible after your arrest if you have been charged with DUI. You can reach our experienced criminal defense attorney, Tatum O’Brien, by email or feel free to call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002.