The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

Take a Chance: Plead Guilty to DUI without a Lawyer

Every state, every jurisdiction has laws against drinking and driving.  Be it driving under the influence (DUI) or some other acronym or name, it is the same thing.  Every state and jurisdiction has its own penalties and fines and uncomfortable results for a person who is arrested and convicted of such a crime.  The penalties and fines and uncomfortable results get worse if the person is a repeat offender.  The person arrested, the accused, likely does not know the law, the courts, the judges, the magistrates, the district and prosecuting attorneys and the police officer(s) involved in this case.  The accused does not likely know what is going to happen when, essentially going along for the ride that will end up in court, most likely.  The accused does not likely know what to say when, what not to say, how to leverage actions or events that come up along the way to the court hearing to his or her benefit.   The accused likely does not know how to negotiate when applicable, does have any relationship with any of the trial personnel or the law enforcement personnel to leverage in the proceedings. But, the accused has the option of pleading guilty to the charges and essentially throwing one’s self on the “mercy” or subjectivity of the court.  What can occur, one might ask.  Well, the answer starts off with the opportunity for the accused to a trial and judgment by a jury of the accused’s peer will no longer be an option.  The penalties, fines, fees, jail time, and whatever will be dictated by the subjective though focused opinion of the judge.  The answer could be the worst results possible in terms of penalty, jail time, fines, fees and whatever else the legal system can devise.  Or, the answer could be the least with the accused essentially getting off with only whatever is mandated by the state’s or jurisdiction’s laws.  Or, it could be something in between.  All of this can and will happen in some shape or form, when an accused takes on the legal system on his or her self.  No, it does not seem to a smart approach to the situation.  But, it is the right of the accused to not have representation or to represent one’s self.  Of course, the accused could feel such remorse about the situation, feel so much guilt having committed this crime that the accused perceives the only solution is to allow the court to punish the accused as severely as the court deems proper.

With a lawyer, even one that is assigned by the courts, the accused has the opportunity and options to change if not at least lessen the outcome of this case.  The accused’s lawyer will use his or her knowledge and relationships of the court and people to bring about a better outcome.  The attorney knows the law, knows how to argue for and against what is said, what might be inferred, knows how to negotiate towards that better outcome.  A lawyer can cost money, but that is what the accused pays for – a person who knows how to make the best out of a not so good situation.