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Do I need to hire a lawyer or will a public defender fight just as hard?

Mesa, AZ |

My son passed a motorcycle cop driving home from lake. Cop followed him, pulled him over saying he was driving under the speed limit. Issued a ticket for 5 miles under speed limit and following a vehicle too close then arrested him under drug DUI suspicion. Cop said he knew he was on drugs because of a greenish tongue, rapid pulse (took his blood pressure) and dilated pupils. My son was not driving erratic and passed field sobriety tests. Showed no signs of impairment. Made him submit to blood sample that they said showed 2 drugs (didn't tell him what). My son is on prescription medicine, which he took earlier in day and smoked marijuana day before (he had a medical marijuana card expired in April). Did not marandize him until at mobile DUI unit. What are my son's rights/options

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Attorney answers 4


A public defender is a very capable attorney but likely not able to put the time into a DUI case that it truly deserves. You should contact an experienced AZ DUI attorney without delay. There are many good ones here on AVVO. If you want to find one in your area just select "Find a Lawyer" at the top of the page. Good luck.

This is not intended as legal advice. No attorney / client relationship exists because of this response.


Your son can hire his own lawyer or wait until his case goes before a judge and ask for a court appointed lawyer. There are many issues that you raised that he should talk about with his lawyer. The second bit of advice is to not give any statement without a lawyer present.


If your son's case winds up in a Municipal or City Court, the "public defender" will likely be a Court appointed, private attorney. This attorney's practice most likely consists of his private client base, and his/her City contract. This attorney is likely to be skilled and experienced in DUI law, the 4th Amendment, etc. Will this attorney provide your son with competent representation? Most certainly.

With that being said, your son will have to go through the Court's bureaucracy of filling out forms to prove his inability to afford an attorney, and the attorney likely won't even get the police reports on your son's case until the first Pretrial Conference, which will probably be 2 court date(s) away.

If your son hires an experienced, private attorney NOW, he will have the advantage of an attorney at his side NOW. Most importantly, a Court appointed attorney will NOT represent your son in the administrative MVD Hearing that needs to be requested within 15-days of the service of the Implied Consent Affidavit (that was likely served when your son was stopped, if a breathalyzer was used).

Many private attorneys (myself included) represent clients in BOTH the criminal case and the administrative case at MVD.

As far as "fighting hard" goes, most Court appointed attorneys (and public defenders in felony court) are some of the hardest fighting attorneys that I've ever seen.


I agree. There are really good public defenders out there. Most private criminal attorneys were once PDs. That being said, a PD understandably does not have the time to dedicate to your son's case.