If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you may already realize that you need legal representation. When it comes to criminal defense, you have choices. You can hire a private attorney to help you with your DUI case, or, if you qualify, you can use a public defender. To learn more about these two choices, read on.
What To Know About Public Defenders
Almost every county offers defendants that fit the requirements an opportunity to legal council. Here is what to know about using this option:
- You must show that you cannot afford a private attorney and that may be determined by filling out a financial affidavit that provides more information about your situation. This affidavit might include your income and sources of income along with a summary of your monthly budget. Some defendants will qualify for legal council free of charge and some may pay a small fee for services.
- You don't get to choose who represents you. The judge will assign a public defender to you. Often, the courts keep a roster of lawyers willing to provide this service and some places have several lawyers employed directly by the court system. Lawyers who work in this capacity are paid but the pay is not what they might commonly receive when working as a private lawyer.
- While defendants can expect public defenders to do a good job, often these lawyers have huge caseloads that must be handled on a time-sensitive basis. That means you could have more trouble making contact with your public defender when you need to speak to them.
- When it comes to handling your case, trial preparation may take a back door to plea bargain possibilities. Whether you use a public defender or a private attorney, almost all criminal cases are handled by plea bargains. A deal is made between the prosecutor's office and the defendant that eliminates the need for a trial. The defendant pleads guilty and appears in court and is sentenced. Plea bargains keep the court system moving along since they are quicker and less expensive than court cases. In some cases, a plea bargain provides the defendant with a good deal but that may not always be the case. Unfortunately, there is a chance that defendants could be unduly influenced to accept a plea deal when dealing with a public defender due to time constraints.
Private attornies are not concerned about doing the quick thing as much as they are about doing the best thing for the defendant. That means you can always make contact with a private attorney when you need to discuss your case. It also means you can take your time and discuss the pros and cons of any given plea deal with an expert with your best interests at heart. Find out more about the advantages of using a private lawyer by speaking to a criminal defense lawyer that deals with DUI cases today.