Do I need an attorney for a dui? 16 Answers as of February 29, 2012

Should i hire an attorney or use the public defender?

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Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
If you hire a lawyer he will make sure you don't go to jail and you do have a chance of avoiding a license suspension. In addition you may not qualify for the Pub. Def. As a rule you do not qualify if you have a job.

We handle many DUI cases. For additional info or to retain our office, call us.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/5/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
If you can afford a private attorney, you probably do not qualify for a Public Defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/3/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Most Public Defenders are good attorneys and know the workings of the court they are assigned to. Public Defenders however have a huge case load and cannot give your case the attention it may need. If you hire an attorney you will meet with that attorney before your arraignment date. You will have more time to decided what you want to do and have someone that will take you through the process and give you more time to think of what you want to do.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/3/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
It depends. The answer is too complex and involved to reply in writing. You should expect a private attorney to spend more time with you, to be easier to contact and to call you back. You may have a great deal of trouble getting in touch with your Deputy Public Defender, at least until you have set a trial date and he or she needs to confer with you for trial preparation. On the other hand, some private attorneys are just hacks who send you advertising or who practice many areas of law. If the Attorney practices more than a couple of areas, and particularly if Criminal Law is not his or her primary area, or co-primary area, run, don't walk. You will just be giving your money to someone who will only tell you whatever the D.A. is offering. They either will not know how, or won't want to bother, to try to improve the deal, if they even really know what to do with a DUI, which is a highly involved area of law. With the Public Defender's Office,
you are generally, but not always, going to get a younger, less-experienced attorney on a misdemeanor. I have seen fantastic work at trial by some Deputy P.D.'s. Just as with private Attorneys, Deputy Public Defenders vary widely in talent, experience, ability, intelligence, motivation and commitment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/2/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
It never hurts to consult an attorney whenever you are charged with a misdemeanor. Sometimes it is definitely worth it to have an attorney on a first DUI; sometimes there is not much even the best attorney can do and on a first DUI, the sentences do not vary much. As to whether to use "an attorney or use the public defender", all public defenders are attorneys first of all, and second, if you can afford to hire an attorney, you are not eligible for the public defender. Finally, just like some private attorneys are good and some aren't, the same applies to public defenders.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/2/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    If you can afford an attorney then you do not qualify for a public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/1/2011
    Mandarano, Cavaletto & Associates
    Mandarano, Cavaletto & Associates | Christopher Mandarano
    The answer to this question really depends on the several factors:

    1. What the charges are. A first offense DUI with only one count may be something that you might attempt to fight in court by yourself. Often there are deals for first-timers that are automatically offered by your county's DA. If you have two or more charges, or this is not your first criminal offense, you may not want to risk "going it alone."

    2. Your hometown. Location is important. Some counties prosecute DUI offenses much more vigorously than others. You should talk with others who have been in the same situation. For example, in some counties in California there are no such things as plea bargains for a reduced sentence.

    3. The complexity of the incident. Were drugs and alcohol both involved? Was your blood alcohol level high? Did the police conduct an auto search? Did you injure another person or a passenger? Did you cause property damage? All of these issues and more can make the defense of a DUI much more complex.

    While hiring an attorney is never cheap, we are familiar with the strange world of the courts and how the system works. When you have your first DUI (and hopefully last), you will want to have a good legal advocate who can ensure that you receive the most effective defense available to you. The Public Defender is always a good option, however remember that of then the PD case load is ENORMOUS and you are literally one of 100's in a given month.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    t is my belief that you should always have an attorney for a DUI.Public defenders are fine attorneys- they have too many files to deal with.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
    I would need more facts to answer that question. For example, if you do not care about your license, go with the public defender.

    Should you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    If you can afford an attorney, an attorney would be good. If not, a public defender will do the job.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    I recommend hiring a private attorney...at least consulting a dui attorney in your area to discuss your case in further detail. A private attorney can appear in court without you, handle your dmv hearing, protect your license past the 30 day temp license you were given....etc...etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf | Lawrence Wolf
    It is always best to hire an attorney if you can afford it if not then use the public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    If you just want to plead guilty, then the PD will be enough. But if you want to explorer other options to minimize the consequences, including a dismissal, aquittal, or reduction in charge, then you will need to find a DUI specialist. Also note that the PD will not represent you at the DMV hearing, which is completely separate from the court proceedings. In other words, no matter what happens in court, the DMV can (and will) suspend your license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    Considering you are also fighting the dmv to maintain your driving priveleges. I always recommend hiring your own lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/29/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Most Public Defendersare fine for a first time DUI as they have plenty of experience. If more complex (ie, a second or third) you mighte conside a private attorney as they have a smaller case load and more time than a P.D.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    The public defender IS an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/31/2010
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