Skip to main content

Is it possible to get a public defender for my DUI charge in state of TX

Houston, TX |
Attorney answers 3


I am very sorry to hear this. You really should have a lawyer to represent you. There are so many collateral consequences to a DWI conviction that only someone that specifically handles cases in this area is capable of handling for you. If you truly cannot afford to have your lawyer continue representation, then make a request that he withdraw and the court appoint you an attorney. Any attorney is better than none, but you would be better served finding a good DWI lawyer and doing whatever it takes to keep them on your case. A good DWI lawyer can do wonders for your charge and may find problems with the case that another lawyer would miss. Just because a lawyer practices criminal law does not mean that they deal with DWI specific issues day in and day out like the prosecutor does.
As a last resort, a court appointed lawyer may be of some value and will definitely do a better job than you could do yourself. Would you go to a brain surgeon and ask to borrow a book so you could operate on yourself? This is an extremely complex area of law that you are not equipped to handle on your own, even though it is your constitutional right to do so.
Good luck to you!


In Texas, The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure demands that a court appointed counsel to represent the defendant if the defendant is indigent and is charged with a (1) misdemeanor punishable by confinement, or (2) a felony.

So in short, yes. However, I would advise retaining independent counsel for they would generally might have more motivation to get you the best possible results.


The judge is supposed to appoint you an attorney if you are indigent (poor, and without resources to pay an attorney). As a practical matter, however, some judges are pretty strict in their determinations on who qualifies as indigent. For some, the fact that you have made bond and have a job will keep them from appointing a lawyer for you.

You need to consider that in Texas, any DWI result other than a dismissal, or a not guilty verdict, results in a permanent conviction that will be on your record forever. A DWI on your record may keep some companies from hiring you, or promoting you if you already work for them. That could potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

There are also surcharges ($1,000 a year for three years for a first offense), license suspensions, and probation violations you may have to deal with. Your best bet may be to just bite the bullet and pay your attorney to try to win your case.