I was arrested for DUI on August 8th. I've researched lawyers and I'm saving up to afford one. My first court date was today (9-17) where upon appearing in front of the judge I asked for an extension to afford a lawyer who could help me decide what I should plea and the judge was very unaccommodating and gave me one week. I was issued a summons that reads:
"It is hereby commanded that laying all other business aside you shall be at and appear before the court on Tuesday 9-24th to answer the charges indicated above. You are further directed to bring with you any and all witnesses or evidence which you desire to produce in trial of your case. Herein fail not under penalty of law." I was also issued an identically worded summons for the date 10-29.
You can probably buy yourself some more time if you need it by pleading not guilty. That said, you'll need to be careful that you don't unknowingly waive your jury trial rights or prematurely bind over your case to a higher court. And the sooner you can get a lawyer, the better. For that reason, many of us offer payment plans, and you can get very good representation without breaking the bank. So if you're unable to hire whoever you've already spoken with, consider making a couple more calls. We all offer free initial consultations. Best wishes to you!
I would call the clerk's office, and ask them which date is your correct court date. I'd be surprised if the judge only gave you a week extension to be able to afford an attorney. The October 29th date sounds more accurate, but I would check with the clerk's office to confirm the correct date.
If the judge has taken that attitude with you, you need to get an attorney now. The next time you are in court, this judge is going to arraign you regardless of whether you have an attorney. Moreover, you only have 10 days after arraignment to file motions in your case. Otherwise, you have to get special permission from this very unaccommodating judge to extend the time for filing motions. It sounds like that is not going to happen. Therefore, you need to make arrangements with an attorney to represent you prior to your next arraignment date. Otherwise, you could lose the right to file a motion to suppress in your case (note that this is a very important tool in DUI defense). I would recommend talking to George McCranie. His office is in Douglas and he does a substantial DUI practice.
You need an attorney as quickly as possible. You should request and make an application for a public defender. He can then help you decide how to plea on your upcoming court date. Most likely this will be "not guilty and requesting a jury trial". However, you need to be aware that a time clock will begin to run on any attorney's ability to file certain motions on your behalf. If you still want to hire a private attorney you will need to do so immediately and make sure they fully understand the status of the case.
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