For a first DUI, do I actually need a lawyer?
Question Details: My breath at arrest .17, BAC at station within 2 hours .16, also got reckless for over 21 mph speed limit during same arrest. I talked to a lawyer who said that here's no chance of jail time and I would probably get $600 fine, plus have to take classes. I was wondering if I can plea bargain for this same deal or is our system so corrupt that only a lawyer can do this for me? I'm up to my eyeballs in debt and I would prefer to not pay lawyer fees plus what ever debts I get from my charges.
There are some counties and officies that are corrupt... but the right to have an attorney is a constitutional right. It can be helpful to assist you in getting a better deal. As a general rule, attorneys can tend to argue a case down by spotting and arguing loopholes in the state's case. If you try to do the arguing by yourself, you may accidentally say something that further implicates yourself. By doing so, your direct statements can be used against you later in court....where statements by any attorneys cannot.
With that in mind... you do have options for having help without pitching thousands of dollars out the window. First, if you qualify, you may be able to get a court appointed attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney and are faced with representing yourself, visit with more than one attorney about the facts of your case. Not every attorney will see the same thing. Each one can give you a different perspective that you can use as you are plea bargaining your case. Many attorneys will offer free consultations... so take advantage of these consultations to gather as much info as possible about plea bargaining strategies.