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Asked in Woodhaven, NY Feb. 24, 2015 ,  13 answers Visitors: 38
Should I hire a DUI Lawyer or Stick with the public defender?
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13 Answers

Anonymous
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Posted on / Mar. 02, 2015 15:46:36

Public Defenders get a bad rap. They are very hard working attorneys and many of them of excellent attorneys in own right. But, as was mentioned in previous responses, a public defender's caseload can be crushing, and they frequently cannot give the CLIENT the time he or she wants (note that I did not say they don't have time to give to the CASE...there are plenty of attorneys out there in both the public and privates sectors who suffer from that failing).

If you can afford to hire a private attorney (and you're honest about that during your intake), the decision will be made for you and you simply will not qualify for a public defender. But even if you do qualify, you may want to consider finding a way to hire a private experienced DWI defense attorney, for your peace of mind if nothing else. DWI defense is not a cookie cutter practice area that anyone can just jump into. It requires specific and detailed knowledge of many facets of the arrest, testing and prosecution. It is always in your best interest to hire an attorney who is well versed in DWI defense, not just criminal defense.

But I tell all my (potential) clients that they have to listen to their gut at the end of the day. If you don't feel comfortable with the person who is representing you on potentially life-altering criminal charges, find someone who you are comfortable with ASAP. That will promote an open (and ultimately more productive) attorney-client relationship.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Mar. 01, 2015 22:59:29

I would strongly suggest you retain a private attorney. Aggravated DWI's a serious offenses which can be costly if they are not litigated correctly.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 25, 2015 18:02:13

A private attorney should give you more peace of mind and attention - but public defenders should be able to achieve the same result

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 25, 2015 17:46:45

If you have the means to hire your own attorney, you should do so. Prosecutors have gotten very tough on DWI cases and you could be facing jail time.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 24, 2015 23:26:36

Public Defenders are often outstanding lawyer (with too many cases). They get good results for their clients in run-of-the-mill cases. A dui case is not run-of-the-mill but public defenders often have excellent training, experience and resources for fighting such a case. Hiring a cheap private attorney will probably not get you a better result. Hiring an experienced dui defense lawyer may. You probably will be more satisfied with the client service.

Sometimes people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial. It is certainly not a do-it-yourself situation, nor a situation where you want someone getting on-the-job training.

That you have been charged or that some gizmo says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you will be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.

Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!

After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.

You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.

That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.

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DISCLAIMER:

Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum.

I am an experienced Wisconsin drunk driving (DUI/OWI/DWI) defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you.

If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.

To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only.

See “more” link below for more important information about this answer and AVVO.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 24, 2015 21:11:38

Some public defenders are fantastic, while others could care less. If you're going to hire a private attorney, do it asap but there's no promise the offer will get any better.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 24, 2015 21:01:28

Money can always be replaced, your freedom cannot. If you hear the financial means to hire private counsel then you should. Public defenders are only for the indigent. You need to have an experienced DWI review the evidence in your case and advise you what your options are.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 24, 2015 21:00:08

If you can afford an attorney, you MUST hire your own. You only get a free lawyer if you CAN NOT afford one.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 24, 2015 20:48:16

Driving While Intoxicated is a serious charge and in most jurisdictions they are prosecuted with special attention. I recommend you hire an attorney who has experience litigating DWI cases. Public defenders are competent professionals but are usually overworked and may lack experience in handling DWI cases. Good luck.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Feb. 24, 2015 20:47:40

It is always best to have a private lawyer if you can afford it. I was a prosecutor in the Queens DA's Office - there may be some things a good criminal defense lawyer can do for you.

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