Answer: No, not at all. The first court appearance on almost all cases—particularly a first offense OWI, but even others—that first court appearance is a formality. It is best to have an attorney by then, but if you don’t have an attorney you certainly can still hire an attorney. And really, you can hire an attorney at any point in the process before the sentence is actually handed out. If there’s any point at which you feel there’s an issue or it’s more than you can handle, it’s not too late to hire an attorney.