It’s a common practice for citizens to hire attorneys when they’ve been arrested for DUI or DWAI, and for good reason: although the Court system is set up to enable citizens to go through the process without an attorney, things become much easier when you have an experienced professional on your side.
What exactly is the difference? Here’s a look at what an attorney does during a DUI or DWAI case that the average citizen probably wouldn’t even realize they need.
The Pro Se Process
Usually when people don’t have an attorney they don’t meet with the DA before the court date. Instead, they’ll meet with the DA on the Court date and go through the case; the DA will likely have already prepared an offer.
However, the DA’s offer will be based solely on information that he or she has gathered from the police report. They won’t have the other side of the story, so any deal they offer will simply be based on the officer’s version of events.
At this point, the pro se person (the person without legal representation) will want to talk and share their side of events, but he or she doesn’t know the law like an attorney or the DA knows the law, and doesn’t understand how to speak the correct legal language.
Very rarely does a pro se person successfully change the terms of the deal based on his or her statements at this point. If the pro se person agrees to the deal, there’s a judge waiting to finalize it.
In other words, without an attorney representing your case, it is unlikely that you will be able to influence or sway the DA’s offer if you don’t like it. The other option would be to refuse the deal, schedule another Court date, and go hire an attorney. That is what I recommend.
The Attorney in Action
When you are represented by an attorney, you’re paying for his or her legal expertise. It is likely that your attorney has dealt with many cases similar to yours and his or her office knows how the process works and can support you when it comes to working through the paperwork.
A DA is much more likely to keep an open mind when someone is represented by a lawyer, in part because the DA knows that the attorney has a thorough understanding of the law and will bring forward a strong defense.
However, once the DA has made an offer it is very difficult to get that offer changed – even if you do come back with a lawyer.
My best advice, if you’ve been arrested for DUI or DWAI, is to hire an attorney right away. Get your process done right the first time and walk away knowing that you got the best possible deal for your situation.
Call our office today at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.