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Is it wise to get a court appointed atty.for a 1st time DUI? I cannot afford an expensive lawyer but NEED driving privileges,etc

Sussex, WI |

It is imperative that for both financial & job security reasons that I do NOT miss work. I've received a notice of intent to suspend my license. I absolutely cannot afford an expensive atty. & have been told the court would appt. one for me. Is this wise??

Attorney Answers 4


Unless you had a minor in the car with you or you caused an injury, a first offense is not criminal, so you are not entitled to a public defender or a court-appointed attorney. Even if you were eligible, a public defender or court-appointed attorney would not be able to represent you at an administrative suspension review hearing. So, if you want to challenge the suspension, I strongly recommend you retain an attorney, and that you get the review request filed within ten days of the notice date.

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You cannnot have a court-appointed attorney for an OWI-1st (or a public defender). Public defenders and court-appointed attorneys are for criminal cases only. An OWI-1st is civil, not criminal. In other words, you are not facing jail time. If you want an attorney to represent you for an OWI-1st, you must hire your own.

In a nutshell: OWIs are complex cases. You should hire the best attorney you can afford.

Good luck!

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Listen to the WI attorneys. You may be surprised that many attorneys are more affordable than you think. Before you give up call around.
Robert Driessen

Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at

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1 comment

Jim Mitchell Medley

Jim Mitchell Medley


Yes, listen.


You cannot get a public defender to help you for the reasons stated in the previous answers. You cannot afford to lose your job and if you don't get an attorney I can guarantee that you will lose your license. OWI proceedings are a complex maze of administrative law and criminal procedure that requires an attorney's help. You should apply an appeal of the administrative suspension of your driver's license and hire an attorney.

This is not intended as legal advice. It is only provided for educational purposes and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. Further no attorney client relationship is or has been formed by answering this question.

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