Originally Posted by camisadelgolf
I seriously considered taking this to trial, but after talking with you all and some lawyers (particularly the ones who have experience with Judge Karen Thomas), it sounds like my best bet is plea bargaining. In that case, do you think it's worth it for me to hire a lawyer?
On charges like this, you always want to give the impression that you are taking the matter seriously. It makes a favorable impression on the judge and can, in certain situation, get you a better deal from a prosecutor.
Prosecutors are lawyers, they usually have dockets to move and don't enjoy dealing with pro se litigants -- who generally don't understand what's going on, ask lots of questions (which is good for them, but annoying for a prosecutor who is responsible to the judge to keep a court docket moving), and are easy marks in a trial should it come to that (I'm always confident I can win a pro se trial, no matter what the facts are). An attorney will help you deal with the prosecutor and, in most circumstances, obtain the most favorable deal for you. An attorney will also explain the potential outcomes and consequences of any guilty plea, including for future driving purposes.
Further, an attorney will help you deal with the judge. They'll speak on your behalf and advise you the best things to say to your particular judge to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Hiring an attorney is a no-brianer here -- regardless of what you want to do.