Like many people in your situation, you may be concerned about the cost of hiring a Michigan DUI attorney to defend you against your Michigan operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge. While you may think representing yourself in court is a cost-effective strategy, you could end up spending the money you saved on court fines, alcohol treatment, and other expenses associated with a conviction.
If you decide to represent yourself in your Michigan OWI case, you will be held to the same standards as a fully trained and licensed lawyer. This means that you must abide by the rules of the court and have knowledge of the criminal procedure. While some judges will try to help you navigate the system, others may become frustrated by a non-lawyer representing him or herself in court.
You also have to know which questions are appropriate to ask witnesses and how to properly object to the prosecution’s questions in order to protect your rights. Not observing proper courtroom procedures can ultimately hurt your case. A failure to object can kill your chances of winning on appeal.
Dealing with the law is difficult enough—dealing with the scientific evidence in an OWI case is another matter altogether. The prosecution may introduce the blood alcohol content (BAC) reading from your chemical test to prove that you are guilty of drunk driving. If you don’t understand this evidence, or how to challenge it, you could have a difficult time establishing reasonable doubt.
The bottom line is that unless you are an attorney who has experience with Michigan OWI defense, you will not have the knowledge and training necessary to obtain a favorable outcome for your case. OWI offenders are subject to harsh prosecution under the law, and the prosecutor will request the most severe punishment. T
he only time you should represent yourself in court against a Michigan OWI offense is if you wish to plead guilty at arraignment. Very few judges will even allow this to happen, but instead will appoint a lawyer to represent you. If this happens you’re still responsible for paying the court back for the cost of this court appointed lawyer.