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.
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.