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Money is tight. When am i assigned a public defender?

Santa Barbara, CA |

I was arrested in Van Nuys on suspicion of DUI. I asked for a blood test, so I was immediately placed under arrest. On my DMV temporary license the box ix marked 0.08% or higher, but I don't know the actual BAC. I stopped by the CHP today to request my arrest report and they told me I need a public defender to access it sooner than 2 weeks from now. My court date is 3 weeks from today, so when do I speak with a public defender? Do I need to register?
I have no priors, but its obvious I will be convicted so I really don't see the point unless I was 0.08 or 0.09, in which case I would consider a lawyer. But I need to know soon so I can make a decision.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Best answer

    You are assigned a PD when you appear in court and tell the judge you cannot afford to hire counsel.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.


  2. Talk to a DUI lawyer and give him your facts. Most of them do not charge for an initial consultation. Afterwards, you can make an informed decision whether to proceed pro se (without a lawyer), if you should try to hire one, or seek appointed counsel.

    DUI cases have very strict procedural guidelines that if not followed to the letter can result in a dismissal of the charges, even for extremely high BAC levels. Don't sound so fatalistic.

    By responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and Garrett Law Group, PLC. Responses should be considered and used for informational purposes only. Every case is unique in its facts, and all legal matters should be discussed with a licensed attorney prior to making any decisions or taking any actions.


  3. I am not bad mouthing public defenders because there are some very good attorneys who are public defenders, but, all of them would admit they have high caseloads. Right now, you think, the officer checked the box over .08 so I must be guilty. My suggestion is speak to a private attorney because you may find out that your case is more defensible than you think, that you have a strong motion to suppress, or medical defense, or other strategy which could mean a dismissal, or a significant reduction in charges. Request your DMV hearing immediately (within 10 days of your arrest) and they will send the police report to your attorney often before the arraignment. good luck. Cell 818-404-3363 www.losangelesdefenders.com


  4. Talk to an attorney in your area, you may be surprised that you can afford to hire a private attorney. If you don't hire an attorney you can always hire one after a public defender is appointed to represent you if youre not happy with your representation. Consult an attorney in your area, most offer a free consultation.


  5. Your really don't know what youre talking about, but that is ok, youre not a lawyer. You should speak to a DUI lawyer, there are many defense to this charge, including getting the whole case thrown out if the cops didn't have a warrant to suck your blood from your body.

    Find someone who is a member of the California DUI Lawyers association. If you cannot afford a lawyer, then ask for the public defender.

    The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.


  6. I started out my career as a public defender, in both the Bay Area, and again down here. In Los Angeles, typically on a misdemeanor you will not have a chance to speak to a public defender until the day you go to court to get arraigned. (when they formally give you your charges). You can have an attorney go for you, handle it yourself, or apply for and speak to a public defender. There are a lot of issues other than .08/.09 that an attorney will look for, and may find to assist your case. In Van Nuys there often is a great deal an attorney can do for you regardless of the BAC. Simply saving you the time of coming to court all morning, sometimes several times alone justifies the call to an attorney.

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