Do they let you use public defenders for a DUI? 67 Answers as of August 24, 2011

Do they let you use public defenders for a first time DUI here?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Highly unlikely. Court-appointed lawyers are only mandatory for felonies. A first offense DUI is a misdemeanor. Judges have discretion to issue court-appointed counsel for misdemeanors if they believe that jail is a possibility. Jail time for a first offense DUI while possible, is rare and unlikely to occur. Therefore you probably will not get a court-appointed lawyer. I would strongly suggest retaining an experienced DUI attorney as the amount of money they can save you will more than pay for their services.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
The English Law Firm
The English Law Firm | Robert English
Yes, but you have to be sufficiently indigent to qualify just like any other misdemeanor case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/12/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
Yes, if you qualify as indigent you should be able to request a court appointed attorney.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/11/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However, as a general rule you can get a public defender if you meet the financial criteria. if you work and earn too much then you do not qualify for assigned counsel.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/11/2011
Advanced Litigation Services
Advanced Litigation Services | Joseph Iarussi
Yes if you are financially eligible. If you have a job and income they will probably tell you to hire an attorney or you could represent yourself.There are lawyers in Las Vegas that will represent you for a modest fee as low as 500 dollars.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/10/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    Your ability to have a court-appointed attorney represent you is contingent upon your ability to prove lack of income. Generally, if you have a job or live above the poverty line in terms of income, you will not qualify for court-appointed representation. For this reason, you may need to consider hiring private counsel to represent you. If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, I invite you to contact my firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    Some judges will say something like, "well, it is a first DUI and the prosecutor is not asking for jail time, so I will not appoint you a lawyer." But that is not what the law really says about appointing a lawyer. If you are facing jail time - to include probated jail time - then the judge is supposed to consider your request for an appointed attorney. A public defender should be well able to handle your case if you are planning on pleading guilty. If you would like to fight the charge you may want to talk with a lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. It is actually a very complicated area of the law.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Yes you have the to an.attorney. If.you.cannot afford one a public defender will be appointed for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
    Yes but you would have to meet the asset and income requirements of the DC Public Defender Service (DCPD) which will more fully explained to you by DCPD when you apply for representation.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Boske Law Offices
    Boske Law Offices | Michael A Boske
    Yes, if you qualify financially.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Yes, generally, if you apply and qualify. Good luck. > Question: Do they let you use public defenders for a DUI?
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    Most counties in Illinois will appoint the public defender for first time DUI offenders. You must demonstrate indegency to the court, and the offense must have possible jail time as a punishment. Defending a DUI on your own is just too complicated without the help of an experienced attorney. But be aware that the public defender will not represent you regarding the statutory summary suspension proceeding, because this is a civil proceeding. If you hire a private attorney, defending the suspension proceeding is part of the process.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. You can be represented by a public defender if you can't afford your own attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Yes you can have a public lawyer if you are charged with DUI, if you qualify financially. The issue of a public defender rides on two criteria. One, you must qualify financially; and two, the crime for which you are charged must be punishable by a jail sentence. A DUI does allow for jail time, although it is unusual for someone to actually get jail for a first offense, it is possible. Therefore, if you qualify financially, the state will appoint a public counselor to defend you. When you go to court tell them that you want to apply for a court appointed lawyer and they will take it from there. The application is done through the Probation Department.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes if you qualify for a public defender, you can get one for Drinking and Driving.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Yes, anytime you face a possible jail sentence and if you qualify financially you are entitled to court entitled counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C.
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C. | Wayne Brucar
    As DUI is an offense which carries with it a potential jail term, you can be appointed a public defender if you qualify financially. You would have to make a request of the judge and fill out a financial affidavit to see if you qualify. Please understand that answering this doesn't create an attorney/client relationship between us, and as hard as I try to answer your question well, it isn't legal advice. No matter how much information you put into a question, the answers you are going to get are still going to be vague. It is in your interest to contact a lawyer, most of whom will do a free consultation. Even 15 minutes with a lawyer is going to produce a more specific answer to your problem.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    Depending on the court's indigent defense system they will. However, most public defenders are not familiar with the nuance of defending a DUI case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If you qualify, that is, you are indigent, you can probably get a public defender to represent you, however, it is up to the judge's discretion.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    Yes, you can use a court appointed attorney for a first offense DUI-OWI. The court will ask you some questions to make sure you are indigent and cannot afford a retained attorney. You will be ordered to reimburse the court for the cost of the court appointed lawyer at the time of sentencing.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You may be entitled to a public defender if you meet the indigence requirements. That doesn't mean you have to use one, you can hire an attorney to fight for you.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Where is here (besides Texas)? You can get an appointed attorney or public defender (depends on the county which they have - Harris County has both) IF you are indigent because you could get up to 6 months in jail for the offense. If you are not indigent, then you cannot get an appointed lawyer for any type of case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    August 5, 2011 If you qualify, due to financial inability to pay an attorney, you may have an attorney appointed to represent you as you could be facing up to one year in jail.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Collins Law Firm, P.A.
    Collins Law Firm, P.A. | John C. Collins
    Dwi is a jailable offense, therefore you are absolutely entitled to a PD
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    I don't know where you are but in California you are entitled to one if you qualify financially.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Yes, if you qualify financially. Apply at your first court appearance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Public Defenders are only appointed when the prosecution is seeking jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Potter Law Offices
    Potter Law Offices | Cal J. Potter, III, Esq.
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    The Law Office of James McKain
    The Law Office of James McKain | James McKain
    In Washington, you have a right to an attorney in any case where there is a possibility of incarceration. In every criminal case where you have the right to counsel, counsel will be appointed to you if you can not afford them. Because DUI is a criminal case where the defendant has a right to counsel, a public defender may be appointed to any defendant who can't afford private counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you are indigent or qualify for a public defender they are available for any misdemeanor, but not traffic violations. Any DWI is a misdemeanor or a felony, so you will get a free lawyer if want to take that risk. You are better off retaining private counsel if you can afford the $1,500-$3,500 fee.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Russman Law
    Russman Law | Ryan Russman
    A DWI that is not brought as an Aggravated DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. Therefore, a public defender cannot be appointed to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Yes. A first offense DWI is a criminal offense and, if you qualify financially, a public defender will be appointed on the criminal case. It is important to remember, however, that a DWI is really two cases in one. there is also a civil case related to your license revocation. If you do nothing, your record will reflect an Implied Consent violation which is the equivalent of a DWI. You have 30 days from the date of the revocation notice to file a challenge. Since it is civil, the public defender would not handle the revocation case.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    No court appointed on DWI 1st unless aggravated. There must be jail involved for ct to appoint counsel.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Yes. If you qualify financially, a public defender will be appointed to represent you on a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    Anyone who qualifies for the assistance of the Public Defender's Office will have them represent the individual for any crime, including DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Yes. Any case involving even a remote possibility of jail time creates the right to counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson | Christopher L. Jackson
    Only if you qualify, but being unemployed, in jail or without any assets.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You must qualify based on the court's income guidelines. Of course you have the option and going to court and pleading guilty. How much preparation is a public defender who sees you only on the dates of court appearances going to get involved in.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    If a person meets the requirements of indigency and is facing jail time, any defendant has the right to be represented by counsel at no charge. DUI is a gross misdemeanor with up to a year in jail possible and a mandatory sentence of 1 or 2 days in jail on conviction so one would be entitled to counsel. That said, if you live in a big city, you are in luck. I know in Seattle in particular that public defenders are first-class counsel who are deeply committed to their clients. In some places, public defenders are less committed and border on complacent when it comes to digging in their heels and fighting for their clients. If there is a good plea deal on the table, it doesn't matter much because you would know what the consequences of a plea would be before you plead out. However, if you want a jury trial you will have to be assertive and politely, respectfully insist on your trial and cooperate with your defender to prepare for that trial. Only 10 percent or so of criminal trials ever proceed to verdict because most cases result is some sort of agreed plea. However if you are committed to your innocence or believe the state can't prove the charges, stand your ground and demand your constitutional rights and go to trial. Lastly, if you feel like your public defender is not following your wishes, get some money together and hire a private attorney. They aren't cheap and some retained attorneys aren't any more committed that the most lethargic public defender, so chose wisely.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    Yes, of course.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    The issue is not what the charge is but whether you are indigent. You only get a public defender if you are indigent.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    If you qualify.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    You are only entitled to appointment of counsel for class A misdemeanors and felonies. That is any case where there is the possibility of incarceration. DWI 1st are class B misdemeanors where the maximum punishment is the possibility of a fine and loss of license. So no, you are not entitled to a public defender.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Yes if you qualify. You can use a public defender on any criminal charge.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Only if you are facing jail. If no jail, no public defender. Jail is mandatory if test is more than .15, or aggravating circumstances with speed, eluding, etc,.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    If you financially qualify, in the counties that have a public defender, yes.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Yes, after you have met with the prosecutor yourself, received a plea bargain offer and then refused to accept it, you can apply for the public defender.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes if you convince the court that you cannot afford an attorney, but remember that PD's won't be able to represent you at the DMV, which is equally if not more important than the proceeding in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    Yes they do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Yes, you can use a Public Defender for the Court case if you have pending DUI charges. However, you CANNOT use a Public Defender for a DMV hearing. Keep in mind, that if you fail to request a hearing within the 10 day deadline, the DMV will suspend your license based on the arrest. And the DMV case is completely separate from the Court case, meaning, even if you "win" in Court, it doesn't mean that the DMV has to issue your license back. You must fight the suspension before the DMV as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    As with any criminal case, you are entitled to representation by a lawyer and if you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you. Yes, that includes DUI cases. You must demonstrate a financial inability to hire an attorney before one is appointed. What the public defender cannot do for you is represent you with the DMV in the proceedings to suspend your license. You only have 10 days to request a hearing and you probably won't even have your court date by that time, so you must act quickly in order to preserve your license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    Yes. You can get a public defender for a DUI if you are financially eligible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
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