You were headed down I-295 on your way home from a friend’s house when a police officer pulled you over. After participating in a field sobriety test and breathing into a breath analysis machine, the officer arrested you for driving while intoxicated (DUI).
Your trial date is quickly approaching and you haven’t been in contact with an attorney or a public defender. You can’t afford the expense of a lawyer and you think you’re capable of defending yourself, so you plan on giving it a try.
Are You Able to Defend Yourself?
According to the ruling in the Faretta v. California case in 1975, defendants have the legal right to act as their own representation. Knowing this, you walked into court and told the judge your plans to defend yourself. Before he will let you, however, he has to ensure you are mentally competent, and here’s how he will decide:
- Your age. If the judge believes you are too young to take on such a responsibility, or too far up in age to stand trial, he likely won’t allow you to represent yourself.
- Your familiarity with English. If English isn’t your primary language, the judge will want to know how fluent you are. If you aren’t able to understand what is going on because of a language barrier, the judge will likely ask that you hire a lawyer.
- Your level of education. The judge wants to get an idea of how well educated you are and will determine that by how much schooling you’ve received.
- The seriousness of the crime. Self-representation is typically permitted in less serious cases. If you’re facing something bigger, however, you’ll likely have to hire representation.
The Easley Law Firm Is on Your Side
We can give you the representation you want. With us, you can take the lead, and we will attempt to get you the outcome you desire. Contact us today to learn how.