A defendant in a DUI or DWI case who is unable to afford a lawyer is classified as indigent. A public defender is assigned to represent the individual in court. Unfortunately, public defenders do not have the best reputations in general and many of the stereotypes are untrue.
A public defender can be a strong asset when attempting to challenge a DUI-related charge but there also may be better, affordable alternatives for legal help.
Can you use a free court-appointed attorney for a DUI case? The simple answer is yes, but “should you” is the real question you need to be aware of before deciding who is really best to hire for resolving your own legal situation.
All you really need to know about the chances of winning a serious criminal case like driving under the influence is considered, is to ask yourself when was the last time you or anyone you know ever actually won a criminal misdemeanor case using this type of free legal counsel?
What is a Public Defender?
Despite popular belief, a public defender is a licensed attorney. While it is true that many new lawyers “cut their teeth” in this role, there are also very experienced, free public attorneys. An individual convicted of DUI should take the charge seriously, realize that consequences may be severe, and retain a this free legal assistance if a private lawyer is truly an unaffordable option.
Unfortunately, defendants are not usually permitted to choose which lawyer will represent them. If the community has a public defender office, the judge usually appoints the office to represent all defendants classified as indigent. The public defender assigned to represent an individual is usually the lawyer assigned to the courtroom in which the case will be heard. In large cities, different public defenders may be assigned at various stages of a DUI case.
Drawbacks of Using a Public Defender vs. Private Attorney For a DUI Case
After first getting arrested, many people are conflicted about hiring a public defender vs. private attorney for DUI or DWI offenses. Though using a public defender often has a more successful outcome than defending yourself, it is not without significant drawbacks. Many public defenders carry heavy caseloads and this may compromise the strength of the defense. These lawyers are often in a rush due to working on multiple cases simultaneously and they may not seem to pay attention or take interest in specific details regarding cases they handle. A public defender may seem to push a DUI case through the legal system without much concern for the result.
The honest truth is, a public defense attorney is more than likely going to help you enter a guilty plea, and be there to make sure your constitutional rights are protected during the court and sentencing process. Because of the overwhelming cases they have in their queue to handle, they simply do not have the time or even sufficient resources available to approach a DUI case with fighting it for a full dismissal in mind. This is not to say that using this free legal counsel to plead guilty is not helpful in some instances, since every person’s own arrest situation is truly unique. Of course there is technically always some remote chance this court-appointed lawyer could succeed in getting a charge dropped, but realistically the odds are about as in favor to a defendant as winning the lottery is.
What you need to know is the extreme repercussions of pleading guilty to a drunk or drugged driving offense actually means. The first thing to realize is that the DUI or DWI conviction will be on your criminal record for life, unless it can possibly be cleared several years later in court by getting it expunged. However getting any misdemeanor or felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs offense removed from a criminal record, is not cheap or easy to do after the fact. This is all the more reason what a person chooses to do now or soon after an arrest and while the case is still going to court, is always the most critical as to what will happen next regarding total legal costs and their future in general.
Private DUI attorneys, on the other hand, are usually completely invested in the individuals they represent and work hard to achieve the most favorable outcomes. Many people think retaining one of these top lawyers may stretch the wallet a bit, but soon realize getting out of a DUI charge will make this a worthwhile expense by far – by avoiding the highest price of all with a conviction or guilty plea. Additionally, all the specialists who work with us will negotiate very flexible and low payment plans to suit your needs, so that each person can afford to hire the best lawyer possible on any budget. FightDUICharges.com offers free DUI arrest evaluations online and connects individuals with the top-rated expert local DUI attorney nearest their location, helping to reduce costs and streamline the process.
Regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony offense DUI charge, consulting with either a public defender or private DUI specialist lawyer is always a wise move rather than representing yourself in court without proper help to guide you. Legal expertise is needed to recognize whether to fight the DUI violation and understand the local court process. Without this assistance, a defendant might plead guilty when there is a chance of having the charge dropped.
Understand the DUI Consequences That Will Happen Before Choosing to Hire any Lawyer for Your Case
If you are found guilty of having a blood alcohol content level over .08 or refused to take the breath or blood test, the sentences now are more strict than ever under the new DUI & DWI laws in every state. You can:
- receive an automatic suspension of your driver’s license within 2 weeks from the date of the arrest;
- be sentenced in criminal court and serve time in jail, with a minimum $1,300 fine for a first offense;
- lose your driver’s license 1-3 years on average under the new law;
- be suspended from operating a motor vehicle on any street, road, highway or any other public areas;
- be required to take treatment & counseling sessions for dealing with drugs and alcohol;
- have your car impounded and be responsible for all towing and storage fees;
- having your auto insurance rates increase for 5 years after a drunk or drugged driving conviction;
- be required to complete all the hours of mandatory DUI classes to become eligible to get your driver’s license back later.
One of the newest and worst of the DUI penalties to deal with, is you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you will be operating. A convicted driver must pay for the installation, monthly monitoring charges, and removal fee of this car Breathalyzer device. In driving under the influence of alcohol or drug cases when another person was injured, or if there was extensive property damage, you can also be sued in addition to the criminal prosecution.
Whether you realize it yet or not, making the choice on who you will hire and what kind of lawyer is used in fighting your case, will be one of the most important decisions of your life. We are available 24/7 to directly answer all your questions as a free resource online or by phone if you prefer, to immediately help you learn all of your true best defense options. This way you can proceed forward by being fully informed about your case, and whether a private attorney or public defender is actually best for your own particular DUI scenario.
- Will I Have to Go to Jail for a DUI? - January 16, 2018
- Does It Make a Difference if I Hire a Lawyer for My DUI? - January 11, 2018
- Is a Public Defender Any Good for Challenging or Taking On a DUI-Related Court Case? - January 3, 2018
- I Was Arrested for DUI, but Don’t Have a Court Date Yet. How Long do the Police Have to Charge Me With a DUI Offense? - December 27, 2017
- What to Do When You Have Been Falsely Charged With an Unjust DUI Offense Arrest - December 15, 2017
- What Happens When Teens Get DUIs? - December 13, 2017
- Case Study: DUI Offense Rates By State - December 10, 2017
- Police Arresting Drivers with Near Fatal BACs - December 5, 2017
- How Can I Beat a DUI Arrest Charge If My BAC Tests Show I Was Over the .08 Legal Alcohol Limit? - November 28, 2017
- What Are My Chances of Beating a First Offense DUI Case? - November 16, 2017