It all depends. For $1,500, you're not likely to find someone who does more than makes the court appearances for you and pleads you guilty. If, on the other hand, you want to have a chance at beating or reducing the charge, the only way is with an attorney who knows the law and is willing to fight. As a bonus, you get the convenience of not having to go to court and can challenge the DMV so you potentially don't lose your license.
DUI cases can get complex and if yours involves issues about the legality of the stop, the police procedures of your detention, arrest, or chemical test, that can make your first-time DUI much more time-intensive and costly. For some people, the convenience of having an attorney is worth it so they never have to appear in court. If, for some reason, you know you're going to just fall on your sword and plead guilty (I have no idea why people do that without even reviewing the police reports, as DUI cases can be entirely dismissed upon successful motions), then you can certainly get a cheap DUI lawyer.
You often get what you pay for and if you want the "A" treatment, a DUI lawyer usually costs substantially more than that. On the other hand, a decent job can be done for that amount if you use a relatively new attorney or someone who just left the DA's office or Legal Aide's office and are trying to start their practice. Check around and you may be pleasantly surprised to find a few attorneys willing to take on your case for that amount. If so, make sure they appear confident in what they're about to do for you and that you delineate what you are to get for your money ahead of time in a written agreement with them.
While I don't practice in your state, it seems to me there are a number of attorneys who will take on your case for that amount. The problem will be that you may not get exactly what you hoped for and may not get as much representation as you expected.
You can go to www.california-dui-lawyers.org to find a lawyer in your area. I do agree with the previous answers that most attorneys charge more than you are willing to spend. However, if you call around, you might be able to find someone willing to help you.
If your license doesn't matter and your income is that low, I'd say, save your money and go with the public defender. I've yet to see good defense for that price in the last 5 years.
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