Should I Represent Myself (Pro Se) In An Ohio D.U.I.?

If you are charged with a D.U.I. (O.V.I.) in Ohio, do you really need to hire an attorney, or can you just represent yourself (proceed “pro se”)? This post could be cut short with the old adage “he who represents himself has a fool for a client”, but I think there are exceptions to this adage. However, if you are going to contest a D.U.I. charge, you are almost certainly going to need an attorney.

Attorneys know the court process and the people involved in the process. If you were going to a foreign country, wouldn’t it be nice to have a travel agent prepare you for all of the details about your destination? Wouldn’t it be even better to have a tour guide there to provide the information and answer your questions each step of the way? That’s one benefit of hiring an attorney, even if you don’t contest the charge.

If you do contest the charge, an attorney is crucial. I can read about my medical condition and become pretty informed. In fact, maybe I can diagnose my condition, choose my own over-the-counter medication, and administer the medication without consulting a doctor. You can read the law, you can brush up on the science (just watch CSI!), and you can practice your public speaking. But acting as your own doctor or attorney has its limits. If I need surgery, I’m going to a doctor with training and experience in surgery. If you are contesting a charge in court, you need an attorney that has training and experience in criminal defense litigation.

Maybe you are especially learned and articulate, and you really just intend to plead guilty and ask for a lenient sentence. Then go right ahead and represent yourself. If you are going to contest a D.U.I. charge, however, don’t have a fool for a client.

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