There are certain legal situations in which you absolutely need an attorney and certain situations that you can potentially navigate without legal help. For example, if you wish to execute an advanced health care directive, your state may allow you to fill out forms yourself and will recognize their legal validity as long as you have them notarized. You do not necessarily need the help of an attorney for this process.

However, there are other contexts in which you absolutely should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney, even if you think that you can adequately represent yourself. For example, if you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, you should certainly seek out an attorney’s expertise even though you could technically choose to represent yourself.

The effects of a drunk driving conviction can be life-changing. You could face imprisonment, steep fines and revocation of your driver’s license. In addition, you could possibly lose your job and your criminal record could affect housing, employment and schooling options well into your future.

Attorneys train for years in order to understand how to successfully navigate the legal system and how to best advocate for their clients. While no attorney can guarantee you a certain outcome for your case, you will place yourself in a much better position to mitigate the consequences of your DUI arrest if you hire an attorney with extensive experience navigating cases like yours.

Please, if you have been arrested on drunk driving charges, consider hiring an attorney instead of representing yourself. Your future depends on the choices you make right now.

Source: Findlaw Blotter, “5 Things a DUI Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can’t),” Brett Snider, April 17, 2014