I got arrested for drunk driving and the court said that this is my 5th or 6th offense. I can't afford a private attorney, therefore a public defender is going to represent me
Public defenders are great attorneys. They pass the same tests that the judge’s take. However, they are overworked. When I was a public defender, it was common for me to work twelve (12) hour days and work on the weekends in order to professionally represent my clients. Some public defenders can only put in eight (8) hour days. They may not have the time to write important motions, do proper investigation, interview you in jail, or take time to read your police report. If that's the case you should consider hiring a private attorney.
A DUI could be tricky. With so many DUI's you are likely looking at prison. It may be possible to get a program depending on how spaced out they are. However, the public defender could be comfortable as they likely appear in front of that judge every day. They can get you just as good of a deal or represent you in trial professionally, but its hard to say. Some are good and some are not that good.
I suggest meet the public defender. You can always fire him/her and represent yourself if you feel they are incompetent.
Public Defenders are good attorneys! They are just over-worked and some might say underpaid. The case loads that these public defenders have are insane and they likely won't have the time to properly defend your case.
Since your case is a DUI and this is your 5th or 6th offense, chances are that you may be facing some serious time. If you can borrow or come up with the money for a private attorney, you will probably get more time and attention put into your defense, which I would highly recommend. A lot of private lawyers have payment plans which you may be able to afford. Many others offer a free consultation to review your case and then will advise you from there. Take the time and take advantage of this and see what solutions may be available to you.
I hope that this has helped.
Parker Evan Bornmann
Contact me at 480-263-1699 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information.
It's a crap shoot, as some of the best defense attorneys I've met and seen in action have been public defenders, while I've also seen some so-so public defenders that also had a hard time keeping up with their caseloads. That said, just because you're paying an attorney (even paying an attorney a LOT of money) doesn't mean that you've got a great attorney or one that will care about you once the check has been cashed.
Lets put it this way, if you qualify for a public defender you are not likely to be able to afford a private attorney who's going to be as skilled, experienced and knowledgeable with respect to the specific court and prosecutors you're dealing with. If you end up with a public defender or appointed private attorney who obviously doesn't know what's going on or can't keep up with their work load then by all means have them removed and get a new appointment or hire private counsel that knows what they're talking about.
Fortunately, the great majority of defense attorneys offer free initial consultations, you may as well speak with a few of them if you're serious about hiring someone.
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