I agree with the previous answer. Many lawyers will give you a free consultation. You should definitely take the time to meet with a lawyer. Meeting with a lawyer will give you valuable information about what to expect in your case. The lawyer can also advise you regarding what actions to take to give you the best chance at a good outcome in your case. Also, because some of the decisions that you have to make are time sensitive, you should be contacting lawyers as soon as possible.
At leadt contact a lawyer before deciding you can't afford one. Then if you can't, in court,request an attorney amd the judge will appoint one for you.
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You need a lawyer, yes.
Talk to some in your area who have experience with DUI/DWI cases. If you can't afford to pay one, ask to have one appointed.
If you receive notice of an administrative suspension you have a very short time to ask for a hearing on that. Discuss this with the lawyers you meet with.
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You might want to contact some attorneys before you decide that you cannot afford one. Rates vary and many attorneys will agree a payment plan.
When you say you need to write a hearing paper, are you referring to requesting a hearing with the Department of Licening? If so, that needs to be done within 20 days or you waive your right to a hearing and your license will be suspended by the DOL. It is completely separate from the criminal case or any court dates you may have for a DUI. You might consider hiring an attorney for at least this portion of your case, even if you get a public defendner for your case because a public defender cannot handle your DOL case for you.
If you determine that you cannot hire an attorney, you need to request an attorney when you go to court, and if you qualify, someone will be appointed to handle your case.
I would at least take the time to consult with a private attorney. Most attorneys give free consultations and can pin-point your issues and concerns. The only problem with public defense is that they will not represent you with your Department of Licensing hearing and may not have the time to sit-down with you to discuss your case in detail. If the police officer punched a hole in your license and gave you a form to request a hearing with Department of Licensing then you only have 20 days to request that hearing. If you don't then you will lose your license by default. If you have no prior administrative suspension or convctions for DUI then it should be a 90 day license suspension. I would definitely speak with an attorney to determine which court your DUI is going to be filed in and to get some options regarding whether to fight Department of Licensing to keep your driver's license
You should contact lawyers who practice in the area where you were arrested. Most criminal defense lawyers will offer a free consultation. At that time you can discuss rates with them and determine whether you can or cannot afford an attorney.
When you are arrested for DUI, there are two sides to the case: the court side and the department of licensing side. After your arrest, the police will send a copy of the report to the department of licensing and to the prosecutor's office. If you do not request a hearing with the department of licensing within 20 days, your license will automatically be suspended. Most public defense attorneys do not do department of licensing hearings. If the prosecutor charges your case, you are facing 364 days in jail (as long as it was indeed your first time and it's charged as a misdemeanor), a $5,000 fine, an ignition interlock requirement and treatment requirements. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible to minimize the consequences. I hope that helps.