I was arrested over 2 years ago for a DUI. There were some unusual circumstances to my case, and I believe I have a strong chance of winning at trial. The breathalyzer and much other evidence, including all of my statements suppressed. My attorney recently withdrew from my case because the prosecution offered me a plea bargain of a careless driving, and I wanted to take the case to trial. At this point, would it be advisable to hire a public defender vs. a private attorney? I already paid the first attorney to represent me and I am having a hard time finding an affordable lawyer willing to pick up a case right before trial. Would the public defender do well at trial or just push me to take the careless (which I would consider but am reluctant to do.)
Criminal Defense Attorney
I can tell you this much, any attorney whether an overworked public defender, and experienced DUI attorney, or a novice general practitioner, they will all urge you to take the careless driving rather than risk going to trial and losing. The difference is you are guaranteed a ticket verses getting convicted at trial and possibly facing jail, probation, losing your license, and a whole host of other indirect collateral consequences.
Most clients are ecstatic to be offered careless driving on an OWI charge. It is rare to get and I have never in my professional career experienced a client turning it down or even thinking twice about it.
If you can win a case do not plead to anything. I would continue to look for an attorney in your area. Pleas make for bad precedent on winnable cases.
You are asking questions which are impossible to answer with any surety. I would most certainly, if I were you, engage private counsel or, if you decided to take the advice of your previous counsel, ask most humbly if he would reenter the case.
To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an appointment. My PRELIMINARY answer to your question(s) is for general purposes and based upon what little information you have conveyed. It is based on such limited information that the general answer should never be relied as a reason for your action or inaction. My response does NOT establish an attorney-client relationship and such may only be established by mutual agreement, and the signing of a written retainer agreement, which will generally require payment for our services, as this is what we do for a living and, just like you, we must get paid for our work.. .
Not all public defenders are created equal. There's no way to know the quality of the attorney who would be appointed for you. If the breathalyzer and most evidence has been suppressed, it doesn't sound like the prosecutor will be able to win at trial. Careless is a great offer but it sounds like you have a great case that you can win completely. I recommend hiring your own attorney if you can because at least you'll know what you're getting whereas you're taking a huge chance with a public defender.
Jamil Khuja (313) 263-3353