Do I need a lawyer?
“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” – Abraham Lincoln
If you find yourself with a pending criminal case against you or an upcoming traffic ticket court appearance, it may be tempting to represent yourself in court. However, there are a list of reasons why you should not. There are many moving parts to criminal and traffic cases that the layperson will not be aware of.
- Administrative Driver’s License Hearings for DWI cases have a strict deadline in order to request a hearing. If you miss the 30-day deadline (from the date of arrest), your driving privileges can be automatically suspended. If you hire an experienced DWI lawyer, they will undoubtedly be able to navigate the administrative process for you and be in a better position to challenge any license suspension.
- Certain drug convictions and violent crime convictions can cause collateral consequences on your ability to receive federal financial aid, housing assistance or veteran’s benefits. Additional collateral consequences for felony and misdemeanor convictions for each state can be found here> https://niccc.csgjusticecenter.org/map/
- Convictions on offenses like theft, burglary, fraud cases or other crimes of moral turpitude may lead to ineligibility of certain employment opportunities.
You should hire a lawyer quickly for any criminal case pending against you. You can avoid missing time-sensitive deadlines and your attorney can request evidence quickly. It is not uncommon for certain police departments, sheriff’s offices and jail facilities to record over video footage that is not requested timely.
Also, the sooner an attorney is on board with your case, the sooner you have someone on your side, fighting for you. In many parishes, if you have an attorney representing you for a misdemeanor offense, your presence is not required at certain court appearances, which means less time you’ll need to take away from your job, family, and other commitments.
Specifically for traffic offenses, citizens frequently think they can save money by not hiring an attorney and handling their citation solo. However, if “handling” the citation means sending in a check for the fine, your driving record will have a conviction for that violation. Though Louisiana does not have a point-system for traffic violations, as other states, each conviction may cause you an increase in your insurance premiums. An attorney experienced in handling traffic citations can help you avoid that.