The State Attorney announced in court that they would not put me in jail if convicted so I don't need a lawyer!
Although this is wonderful news, this does not mean that a conviction will not affect you for the rest of your life. A single conviction may keep you from getting your dream job, keep you out of certain social clubs or deny you of membership in homeowners associations when purchasing or renting a home. If convicted of a Felony you would also lose your right to vote and carry a firearm.
It's only a Misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor crime is punishable by a jail sentence and/or probation. 364 days for a first degree misdemeanor and 60 days for a second degree misdemeanor.
I can use the Assistant Public Defender for free and save some $.
Let me start by saying that there are many excellent Public Defender's out there...
With that said, PD's are overworked and underpaid. They often have a hundred or more open cases in addition to in-court duty and other concerns. You also don't get to choose which PD will represent you.
By hiring the right private attorney, you will get the individual attention that most Public Defender's simply can not provide. The right private attorney will have the time and attention that will make the difficult time a client faces while being prosecuted much smoother. They can constantly keep the client informed of developments, meet with family, develop theories of defense and be available for all questions/concerns that the client may have.
*** I am not promoting that all private attorney's are better suited to help you. Some private attorneys take too many cases, are completely unprepared and/or do not spend nearly enough time working to resolve matters for their clients.
It's my first DUI - It will just be a slap on the wrist.
DUI penalties throughout the United States have become particularly severe. This is definitely the case in Florida where we have some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation.
The hiring of a lawyer can save you from a conviction which may cost you thousands of dollars in fines and court costs, numerous hours taking classes and receiving alcohol treatment, additional time spent performing community service hours, mandatory impounding of your vehicle and the potential to have a required embarrassing interlock device installed on your vehicle.
DUI is treated very seriously by the courts and has some of the toughest lobbyists in the nation with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) constantly pushing the legislature for even tougher laws against violators.