When you have been a DUI lawyer for over 25 years people ask you DUI questions everywhere you go. Some of the most common questions I hear are "Do I need to hire lawyer for my DUI case?" or "Will the Judge let me represent myself if my DUI is a first offense?" You are certainly entitled to represent yourself in your DUI court case but it is absolutely not a good idea.
DUI cases are more complicated than a lot of people think. In Kansas DUI situations, in addition to the criminal case in a municipal or state court, there is a separate administrative proceeding regarding the potential suspension of your driver's license. This hearing does not come automatically. You need to request it in writing and in the proper format. If you do not request the hearing within 14 days of your arrest you forfeit the chance to fight your suspension. As for the criminal DUI case, there are a lot more potential defenses than most people would think. An experienced, highly-trained DUI defense lawyer can spot issues with your case that have never occurred to you. An attorney with extensive trial experience can advise you as to whether your case would be a good case to take to trial. Such a lawyer will have experience in the court your case is in and and will know the predilections of the prosecutor and Judge.
In some courts in my area the prosecutors have prepared an instruction sheet on how a DUI defendant can represent herself or himself without a lawyer. The prosecutors instruct the police officers to give this instruction sheet to everyone they arrest for a DUI. Take a minute and ask yourself why the prosecutors do this. They do this because they love unrepresented defendants. Unrepresented defendants don't take their cases to trial. They don't file motions. They don't know what to look for in the police reports. They don't spot mistakes. Instead, unrepresented defendants do basically whatever the prosecutor tells them. This makes the job of the prosecutor and arresting officer much easier.
Your DUI case may be one of the most difficult situations you have ever been in. It can have lifelong ramifications. Do what you need to do to protect yourself.
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