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Attorney or public defender?

Puyallup, WA |

I have my araignment Friday and everyone told me I will be fine with a public defender but I am starting to worry that I will need lawyer. I was arrested for a dui and blew a .09 both times, this is my first offense and I am confused on this whole process.

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

A public defender is a lawyer. Many of the best attorneys in private practice started their legal careers as public defenders. The reason most of leave public defense is because it is very difficult to serve one's client as well as they deserve because of the large caseloads. So while the defender assigned to your case may be a terrific attorney, it is likely in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you. There are any number of fine attorneys in your area who specialize in defending DUI cases. The ramifications of a DUI conviction are so serious, even though it is only a gross misdemeanor, that hiring a someone who handles these cases regularly (or exclusively) is realy the best way to go.

Asker

Posted

I will probably end up doing so for the dol part of it, but as far as my araignment hearing, will I be ok without a private attorney? I don't even know what an araignment hearing is, I have never been in trouble

Christopher A Swaby

Christopher A Swaby

Posted

Ah. Arraignment is the hearing at which you will receive the formal charges. You will be entering a plea of "not guilty," regardless of actual guilt, because this is just the start of the process. A public defender is more than capable of representing you at such a hearing. You will then get a date for your next hearing and you can ask that it be set out long enough to give you time to hire private counsel (who may include the DoL part in the fee for the criminal charge).

Asker

Posted

So will my license be suspended for that time inbeteeen..? I drive to south center everyday for work so I don't know what I am going to do.

Christopher A Swaby

Christopher A Swaby

Posted

No. Your license wont be suspended immediately, as you are innocent until proven guilty, whether after a trial or guilty plea. If you are found guilty, there will be a mandatory period of suspension but you can ask for a limited permission to drive to go to work. Your attorney can describe how to get such permission in greater detail.

Asker

Posted

Ok thank you, as far as getting a public defender should I call and try to get one before Friday or wait for the court to appoint me one?

Christopher A Swaby

Christopher A Swaby

Posted

I dont know how it works in your county. Typically an attorney is appointed to you in court at arraignment in district court. In some district courts, the judge or commissioner enters a "not guilty" plea for everyone appearing that day and the defendants sign up for appointed counsel. It couldnt hurt to contact the local public defender to learn if your case has been assigned.

Posted

A public defender should certainly be able to get you through the arraignment since this is your first offense and you blew .09 on the breath machine. You could however, be facing additional consequences to your license which public defenders do not handle. It is advisable to at least consult with an attorney. You should talk to an attorney soon as you have 20 days to request a licensing hearing and an attorney can assist you in preparing for your arraignment so you know what to expect. Feel free to contact my office for a free consultaton at 253-473-4262.

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