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We have no money for DUI lawyer and do not qualify for a PD, what can we do?

Snohomish, WA |

My husband was charged with a DUI (0.101) a few months ago. This is his 2nd offense. The 1st was 10 years ago. He has already pled not guilty at arraignment and has a 2nd court date set for January. He applied for a PD, but was denied. We do not have money for a lawyer. We are a month behind on our mortgage, owe thousands in medical bills, cannot get a line of equity, and cannot receive a line of credit. We don’t know what to do. If my husband goes to jail for this we will literally lose everything. We have already accepted the 90 suspension. He has been seeing a counselor and was informed by the Behavioral Health Association Psychologist that he is not an abuser/addict. We had an initial consultation with a lawyer, and they want like $500 a month until we pay off a $4500.00 fee. We don’t have $500 extra a month, we just borrowed money to EAT!

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You can reapply for the appointment of an attorney and list in detail your debts and obligations and see if the court will appoint with a larger potential contribution to the court for your attorney. I have heard of this before.
    Or you will have to figure out away to hire one. The only other thing to do is represent yourself that that isn't a good idea.


  2. If your financial situation is as bad as you say it is then it seems unusual that you would have been denied appointed counsel. Were you able to document all of this for the court? If not, be sure to gather as much financial information as you can and re-apply for a public defender. This is not something for which it would be a good idea to try to represent yourself.


  3. As mentioned by the other two attorneys, your husband may want to attempt to screen again for a public defender with complete documentation of your financial hardship. Re-screening can sometimes lead to appointment of a public defender when more information is provided. If you still do not qualify, you may want to contact a few other local attorneys who offer free consultations to see if you can find one that is more flexible on pricing considering your financial situation.

    Jeff Holmes - Attorney at Law - www.vancouverdefense.com - 360.975.9288. Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. This information is based on general principles of law, as well as my general experience that may or may not relate to your specific situation. This information is not meant to take the place of actually consulting an Attorney in your jurisdiction. If you would like legal advice, I would recommend consulting an attorney in your locale.


  4. I agree with all of the other answers. The only reason I am answering is to stress that your husband should reapply for the public defender with supporting information, and especially that you should speak to multiple attorneys to try to find one who will be more flexible on fees. Because of your financial situation, many highly experienced attorneys will want a significant amount of money up front to ensure that they do get paid. There are many attorneys, however, who are really good, but who for whatever reason would take your matter for less than their normal rate. Maybe they are just starting out, or maybe they just went out on their own after a long career with another office. Talk to several attorneys and find one that you like who is at a price that you can somehow manage. The key is to consult with several, not just one or two.

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